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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Mr. Plow

  • For 10 years he's gotten behind the wheel of a big rig and plowed the area state roads. You might think in that time period he's become a plowing expert, but he says the experience is fresh every time the snow falls.
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  • He's not Homer Simpson, but Ched Dunker has found his job with MoDOT as a plowman quite rewarding.
    For 10 years he's gotten behind the wheel of a big rig and plowed the area state roads. You might think in that time period he's become a plowing expert, but he says the experience is fresh every time the snow falls.
    "It's something new every time, it's never the same," Dunker, who lives in Kinderhook, Ill., said. "Every storm's different, you just always got to watch out for other people. You just pay attention to where you're at, this is a heavy snow. Ice is definitely worse. Embrace it all."
    Despite all the snow that's fallen, this actually isn't the worst Dunker has seen.
    The blizzard that dumped loads of snow on Hannibal two winters back was the worst of them all, he said.
    "I've seen worse, there's definitely been worse," he said. "It's harder when it's snowing hard and the wind's blowing, you can't see very good. The last storm, the windows kept freezing up, lost a windshield wiper an hour into it."
    His route along U.S. 61 is fairly simple at times, of course the more snow that's on the ground does make the route more treacherous. Hills along the Salt River, near General Mills and by Dairy Queen are the toughest portions of the route.
    "It's pretty dangerous," Dunker said. "This is a heavy snow, ton-trucks had to put chains on them."
    But the big snow plow isn't a tough deal.
    "I grew up on a farm, so I'm used to the road and equipment," he said.
    It's because of Dunker and his fellow plowmen that the streets get clear. Some may just see it as another duty of their job, others may see it as something that has to be done, but Dunker sees it as a service provided.
    "It's rewarding to get people moving again," he said, "get everybody's lives going again."

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