Unheralded caretakers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Football season has been long over, so people might think there would be no one hanging around Memorial Stadium.

And they would be wrong.

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Taking care of all the Selma Recreation Department’s parks is a year-round job.

Although the load is lighter this time of year, there is still work to be done.

“There’s a whole lot of grass to be cut,” said assistant foreman Roosevelt Walker. “We have to line the fields off for softball and baseball tournaments. We clean up bathrooms and pick up a whole lot of trash.”

And therein lies the real devil – trash. From the outside looking in, the jobs of the groundskeepers look tedious, difficult even.

Walker says that’s not the case. The real headache comes cleaning up the facilities after games, a job that can take as long as three hours.

It also has to be done for family reunions and any other social event that calls the city’s parks into use.

Otherwise, the work of the nine staff members isn’t all that cumbersome.

Normally, they work from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and don’t encounter too many problems they can’t handle.

Of the nine members on staff, four are assigned to the area immediately surrounding Memorial Stadium and Bloch Park – foreman Johnny Jemison, Willie Thomas, Alonzo Jones and Alfred Mollett. Joe Savage, Charles Thomas, Freddie Cowan, Andrew Towns and Walker take care of everything else throughout the city.

That includes upkeep of the Softball Complex. That is the one place that is the hot spot during the summer with youth league games taking place almost daily.

The staff’s current project is painting Memorial Stadium, something that has to be done once to twice a year, depending on the weather.

Now that football season is near, the crew is back in business.

Walker even shrugged off the notion that their jobs are harder because of all the teams that use the stadium.

“Everything usually runs smooth and fine,” Walker said. “It’s not difficult – only until after a football game.”