CLEVELAND — It is one of the toughest jobs in these brutal Cleveland winters — and so often, it can be so thankless.
“We work about 12 hours a day and they are long days,” said Yvette Houston, a city of Cleveland snow plow driver for the last 24 years.
Yvette said she saw a female truck driver and thought to herself, “I want to do that!”
That thought turned into a career Yvette takes so much pride in.
Keeping the streets clear, keeping the community safe, she says, is her main motivation.
But we know, it comes with challenges.
Yvette said the most frustrating one for her is people ignoring snow parking bans.
“That’s the biggest problem. They complain that we can’t go down their streets, but we can’t get down some streets because you have cars parked on both sides of the street and it’s not safe,” she explained.
We got the chance to ride along with her on a day when the entire state of Ohio is under winter storm warnings and plow drivers are working around the clock.
Yvette’s route focuses in and around downtown Cleveland, from 7 a.m. to past 7 p.m.
“We’re gonna go to Superior. I start at 55th Street and go all the day down to East 9th,” she said.
She starts on the main roads — a few passes, making sure conditions are good.
Then, moves onto side streets and residential.
She’s responsible for checking the blades, knowing when to switch from straight plowing to putting down salt.
And even after 24 years — Yvette does all of this with a smile.
She says when she started, the City of Cleveland had maybe five female plow drivers.
Now, according to the city, there are 22 female truck drivers, two female heavy equipment operations, and two female supervisors in the snow removal program.
“You can do it, you can do it," she said. "It’s a great job.”