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West Virginia Salt Truck Driver Begins Route With Prayer

February 21, 2007

CHARLESTON, WV – Robert Runion, a salt truck driver for the City of Charleston, W.V., has been driving salt trucks for 26 years. His route includes the hilly section Charleston, W.V.’s, West Side. It contains some of the steepest roads in the city. It’s not a job for the faint of heart, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.

Two of the city’s 18 salt trucks sit parked at the Public Works garage on Pennsylvania Avenue. City drivers have been working 10-hour days recently to make morning commutes possible for residents.

“I love every minute of it,” Runion said, as quoted in the Charleston Daily Mail. “It’s always a challenge. When you start at the bottom of a hill, you have to pray to God that you’re going to make it to the top.”

Runion has spent 26 years driving salt trucks for the Charleston Public Works Department. When he first joined the department in 1979, Runion was a part of a three-man crew that shoveled salt onto city roads by hand. After two years, he graduated to operating his own truck.

On a usual workday, the 52-year-old Sissonville resident is the supply manager at the city’s Pennsylvania Avenue garage. But when the snow starts to fall, Runion is recruited to drive a salt truck. The city has a fleet of 18 salt trucks. Fifteen are bigger models that can hold eight tons of salt. The other three are smaller, 4-by-4 models that can hold four tons.

Those vehicles, and the 47 employees with commercial licenses, make the commutes of residents possible during wintry weather.

“Every time I get in that truck, I say a little prayer,” Runion said, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.

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