He is only 79, but Snork (Gerald) Seifert is already retiring from his business of plowing snow on township roads.
He is only 79, but Snork (Gerald) Seifert is already retiring from his business of plowing snow on township roads. He thinks maybe he’ll even check out a warmer weather location for a couple weeks next winter.
Stark Township board member, Rob Goblirsch, stopped in the Herald-Dispatch office a week ago to deliver this news tip. I think Goblirsch was probably most concerned about who is going to take over the 32 miles of township road that Seifert was clearing for them, but he also seemed to genuinely appreciate Seifert’s 37 years of service to Stark Township.
Seifert said he got his education in plowing township roads from Gilbert Windschitl, starting back in 1968 when Richard Mathiowetz of Mathiowetz Construction added snow plowing to the business’s winter work — taking on seven townships.
“Gilbert taught me the right way to plow snow,” said Seifert. “He was a great mentor, with a lot of patience as he taught all of us guys.”
Seifert said after five years in the snow plowing business, Mathiowetz Construction gave it up and Seifert began to work construction for the company.
“In 1981 there was not enough road construction business, so I went to the city for one year,” said Seifert. “I worked with Cliff Sorenson, plowing snow on city streets.”
Seifert must have decided that plowing snow was the perfect fit for him. In 1982 he bought the grading business of Wendelin Braun, for four townships — Stark, Leavenworth, Mulligan and Prairieville. Seifert had three graders and two trucks. “I hired dedicated guys to work with me clearing those township roads,” he said.
Seifert said after 27 years he gave up Prairieville Township and after 30 years he let Mulligan and Leavenworth go. For the past seven years he has handled snow removal of Stark Township roads — that’s 32 miles of road. Twice, one side and then back for the other — 64 miles of plowing, and then maybe start over if the snow is blowing in.
“When I had all the townships, it was 150 miles,” said Seifert. “Times two.”
Seifert said that years ago telephone poles lined one side of the roads and REA poles were on the other side. “We just stayed between the pole,” he said.
Now most of those lines are underground and there are no poles to guide the plow drivers.
So, how do you do it, Seifert was asked. “You go slower and when you feel the grader start to tip, you know that’s the ditch.”
Seifert sold his grader to Steve Krebs, who plows for Leavenworth. He said Stark bought a new grader, but he doesn’t think they have anyone lined up to use it.
“It really wasn’t work because I loved doing it,” said Seifert. “And, nobody will beat my record of years plowing township roads.”
Seifert said he plans to do a lot of fishing this summer — he bought himself a nice fishing boat awhile ago. And, I think I talked him into going to Hardee’s for coffee with the guys every once in awhile.