College Photographer. Knox Alum. Young Photojournalist.

More Than 30 Years at the Parks Department

GALESBURG – A deep connection to the city, a strong work ethic and a cleaner city despite smaller budgets is a daily routine for three Parks Department employees.

Jason Asbury, Brad Theobald and Joe Asbury, three full time employees with the Galesburg Parks Department, work to create a clean city for everyone to enjoy.

“I wanted to provide a service for my town to give back,” said Jason Asbury. Both Jason Asbury and Theobald grew up in Galesburg and feel a need to return the favor for what the city gave them years ago.

All three men have ten years of experience working full time with the Galesburg Parks Department under their belts.

Joe Asbury worked with the Water Department for five years before that. This job has translated to his current job during the summer, taking care of the wading pools and the splash zone park for the Department.


Jason Asbury and Brad Theobald work to clean inlets around the City of Galesburg on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Also the slideshow ends with a few shots of Joe Asbury priming a replacement sign for the Water Department.

Jason Asbury was a pipe welder and fitter before coming to work for the Department. “I always loved working with my hands,” said Asbury. “I love to see my product at the end of the day.” This has kept him from working on ‘paper heavy’ jobs and kept him happy doing what he does.

Theobald has been off and on with the department since 1986, working at the Butler factory in between. “It was something I always wanted to do,” he said. “I was happy when it finally worked out.”

Theobald knows first hand what troubles the city went through when Butler and Maytag closed their doors. “I try to do the best I can to beautify the city,” said Theobald. “We try to make it a city for businesses to come here.”

Both Jason Asbury and Theobald feel a responsibility to make the city as presentable as possible to hopefully bring back some jobs. “If you look at the census, you can see the numbers dropping,” said Asbury. This makes their list of duties longer, but gives them less money to complete them.

As the city moves away from the industrial history the Parks Department has picked up the duties of cleaning city-owned lots. “The city purchased a lot of these properties when the companies left,” said Jason Asbury. “Its our job now to clean them up. Sometimes the grass has grown really high from years of neglect.”

During the winter months, the full-time staff is given a large range of jobs. “ We are kind of a jack of all trades,” said Joe Asbury. The list includes; picking up trash, cleaning inlets from leaves, trimming trees, repairing signs, plowing streets north of Fremont Street as well as downtown parking lots and clearing the piles of snow in the middle of streets after major snow accumulation.

During the record snowstorm earlier this month Jason Asbury worked 48 hours with only four hours of sleep and Theobald worked 31 hours straight with no break. This work ethic helped keep the access to the hospitals and the main streets clear enough for emergency personnel. During the snowstorm they helped rescue Ameren personnel west of the city on Main Street as well as rescuing someone who needed medical help from a home.

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