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Holman helps keep Liberal recycling, trash free PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 November 2017 12:32

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By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times


City of Liberal Solid Waste Department Director Frank Holman has worked with the City of Liberal for many years and recently shared some stories about his time working in the community.  



Q: Could you give me some background on yourself? (i.e. how long you’ve been with the City of Liberal, how you got started with the City, etc.)

A: I started back with the City in the Solid Waste Department back in 1987 and I ended up at the City because I used to work for Clingan Tire and after the cap shop burnt down, a lot of us were out of a job at that time so before going to work for the city, I ended up working like mowing some lawns and stuff like that but then eventually in 1987, I got hired on by the city in the Solid Waste Department. I worked there and I was there with some older men, but they were very encouraging and I ended up working there for about three and a half years and at that time, since I was younger, I decided to go back to school taking classes in heating and refrigeration and also to get my state diploma because I’d quit school early. So I quit the City to go back to school full time and my wife and I had sorted all the financial stuff. I had wanted to do something different in my life and I graduated with my certificate in refrigeration and heating and had also taken some electrical and mechanical classes to along with that. 

When I graduated, I was looking for a job hoping I could get on with Weber or one of those companies here in town, but the doors were closed, and I couldn’t find a job. I ended up getting a job with IBP over in Holcomb and I was driving back and forth every day and I was what you’d call a roundsman – I worked on the units, the boilers, the hotbox, all of that. I did that for a while and I ended up kind of lonely because since I was driving back and forth and my family was still here in Liberal. Not only that, I enjoy worshiping with other believers and circumstances made it that I wasn’t going to church anymore, which had played a big part in my life – it kept me encouraged and on the right path, all that. But there I was slowly becoming miserable even though I was making money to provide for my family because I’d been shifting all my responsibilities of being a father at home to my wife. Everything else was okay, but I missed my family. 

One day, on my way to work, my superintendent at that time asked me “Frank, how’s it going?” and I was honest with him and told him “It’s not going too good.” So I sat down and explained to him what was going on in my life and at that time, since he knew I was a faithful and good employee, he told me “By coincidence, I’ve got a position open with the city” and it was like the answer to my prayers. A few days before all this, I’d sought the Lord and there’s a piece of scripture that talks about making paths plain and I asked Him to make my future path plain and that’s what happened that morning. So my boss told me to talk it over with my wife and they’d take care of getting me an application. I eventually went to work with the City and I’ve been there ever since. That was back in 1993 when I came back. I’ve always been with that department, I’ve never desired to go work in another department because I felt we were making a difference and that we were needed. 



Q: What would you say is your favorite part of your job?

A: The teamwork, everyone’s working together. Yes it’s hauling debris and trash out but it’s like mowing your lawn – when you start the mowing, everything looks a bit rough and scraggly but when you get through with everything, there’s a satisfaction there. It’s the same with trash, we go up and down these alleys and everywhere and there’s a lot of people who appreciate it and they’ll call and let us know how they appreciate it. But on the flip side, there are people out there who aren’t as appreciative after we clean up. I’ve enjoyed making a difference with that and it is a bit of a struggle sometimes because there’s some people out there who don’t care and want to make it hard.



Q: What are some of the day-to-day tasks the department takes care of that the community might not know about?

A: First off, our daily duties include the dumping schedule with the trash containers, we do that six days a week. Liberal’s big enough that six days a week, we dump trash and that’s no matter the weather, it’s still got to get picked up because it does accumulate. A lot of people understand we do item pickups where they pay a fee for the pickup like if there’s an old piece of furniture or busted fridge or something. We try to put it all on the schedule because when we get those calls in between the dumpings, we make those a priority because they pay that fee. A lot of times, we also have people who call about a big object they don’t know where it’s from so they want it gone immediately. We do have the schedules we work with, but we also work to help everyone who needs it. 



Q: What’s been the response to the recycling center since it opened a few years ago?

A: It’s been really good. And it’s not just Liberal who uses it, we also get people from Oklahoma who bring their recyclables here to the center and just in Liberal, I’d say 20 percent of the community uses it. And that includes housewives and their children, companies, everyone. The more people who get involved, the more we’re able to get in there and work with everyone who comes through. 



Q: Why would you say it’s so important for the community to have a recycling center?

A: Off the top of my head, one of the big things is it helps preserve the landfill. Also, a lot of times, there’s the community involvement and brings people together. Not only that, it also helps save resources, whether it be plastic bottles or cardboard. 



Q: What are some changes you’ve noticed in your time working with the City of Liberal?

A: There’s been a lot of changes I’ve seen. I’ve been here about 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of different individuals come and go. I’ve also seen where people have had to step up and be more accountable toward this department. I’ve seen where we’ve had to write out what we did for the whole year. I’ve seen a lot of projects around Liberal and have seen different functions added on everywhere, including our department – one example is we’ve got a tree program where we work to help residents with their trees and trim them back for a fee. We’re also working more to clean up the alleys. And with those changes, they haven’t pleased everyone, but they’ve needed to be made.



Q: Is there anything else you would like to add or anything else you think would be relevant to put?

A: This is my community, this is my home and I care. I have to make decisions without partiality or favoritism because working for the City means making decisions based on what would be best for the city – not for me, not for my friends, but for the community overall. There are those who don’t respect that and there are those who do. I work to make a difference in the community, and I say that also for my staff. I’ve been here for 30 years and I’ve never wanted to work anywhere else, I’ve enjoyed working right there. 

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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