This week, the city of Ardmore honored two of its longest serving employees. Don Olive and Bucky Canada were first hired in 1984 and have spent the last 35 years serving the city and its citizens.
Olive serves as street superintendent and has been with the street department his entire career. As superintendent he oversees the crews and is responsible for keeping the department running smoothly. However, he pointed out his crew is an invaluable asset.
“I’ve got 10 guys in the department and I’m blessed,” Olive said. “All of them are good guys. Just in the last year I hired an experienced motor grade operator, something we didn’t have in probably 12 years. He’s helped us out tremendously on a lot of our projects. He can run any of the heavy machinery we’ve got.”
Olive said while the street department’s general activities and work hasn’t changed much over the years, the number of streets in town have significantly increased.
“We’ve added a lot of new streets over the years,” Olive said. “Just in the last 10 years look at how much Ardmore has grown. It’s always a challenge to take care of the public and keep up the infrastructure. We have a lot to do and it doesn’t go away.”
Olive said helping the public is one of his favorite parts of the job.
“Just by visiting with people, I’ve made a lot of friends,” Olive said. “I enjoy my job and love taking care of people. It’s one of those things. You can start a project and look back 12 years later and say ‘yep, we did that.’”
 Canada works for the sanitation department as a heavy equipment operator. Over the years he has also worked for the garage, the street department and Operation Pride. He said when it comes to the sanitation department, one of the biggest changes came when the city introduced uniform city-wide trashcans.
“We bought the first cans back in 1999,” Canada said. “I think it was around 10,000 to start with and it’s grown a lot since then.”
Canada said prior to this, sanitation workers had one of the most physically challenging jobs in the entire city. A worker would have to physically lift all the trash cans to empty their contents into the truck.
“It’s a lot easier now,” Canada said. “It saves a lot of guy’s backs and legs and ankles from getting twisted.
In addition to the new trashcans, the current trucks have also improved the department’s efficiency. They come equipped with five cameras — one on each side of the truck and one that displays the contents going into the truck. All the cameras record and can be retrieved when needed.
This can be useful when someone calls claiming their trash got skipped. Canada said the city asks that all trash cans are at the curb by seven in the morning. Because each driver has three routes a day, some pickups typically take place later in the afternoon, and the resident might not have gotten their can out before the truck came by.
“So if people call and say they got skipped, we can send them a picture showing the time we came by and that their can wasn’t out,” Canada said.
Both Canada and Olive agreed the city has done a good job of keeping up with the times by continuing to purchase new equipment to make the work go more smoothly. Olive said this is all part of a day’s work.
“We’re public servants and that’s what we do, and I think we’re all good at it,” Olive said. “I’ve lived in Ardmore all my life and I love it. We’ve got everything that a big town has but we’ve still got the small town feel where everybody knows everybody. Ardmore is a beautiful town. It’s not just my job it’s my home, and that makes you try that much harder. Because it is your home and you want it to be good.”