Neighbours host Sarnia road crew workers for a BBQ Lunch

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Some of the constuction crew lines up to fix their plates. (Submitted photo via Sarnia Journal)

Usually, if a major construction project is under-way near your home, you just wish it would end.

However, some Sarnia neighbours decided that the workers on a $5.5 million road construction project in their neighbourhood deserved some special recognition.

“We’ve been in the construction and trucking industry for a long time,” said Joyce Philip, whose Talfourd St. neighbourhood has been torn up in the midst of a $5.5 million road construction project.

“These guys are so good at their job, so my husband (Don) wanted to treat them; he had someone treat him kindly once, so he wanted to return the favour,” she told the Sarnia Journal.

The couple, along with neighbour Rene Work, decided to host a barbecue lunch for the 15-member crew from Van Bree Drainage.

“I said there was no need for that – we’re just doing our jobs,” said site foreman Victor Lopes, but the couple insisted.

The local publication reports that Don and Rene set up tables, chairs, tents, coolers of water and pop, cooked hamburgers and hot dogs, and even handed out sweat bandanas and safety glasses for each worker.

“We don’t get that too often,” said Lopes. “Usually, it’s people criticizing us for ripping up the street and making a mess … even though, in the long run, it ends up beautiful.”

“I’ve been very ill, so I have to walk with a cane on unsteady ground, so they always watch for me, help me out, and carry my things,” said Philip. “Even at night, we watch them clean up the job site. They really do work hard and they’re a nice bunch of guys.

“We just wanted to treat them and be good neighbours.”

Lopes said it’s common for workers to develop relationships with residents during lengthy projects like these.

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The hosts of the barbecue, from left, Don Philip, Joyce Philip, Rene Work. (Sarnia Journal – submitted photo)

“We get to know them and their routines, and hope they understand we’re doing our best to give them access,” he said in the published report. “My loader operator has been known to put groceries in his bucket, take it to their houses and unload, while they walk down the sidewalk, because they have to park further away.”

Meanwhile, members of Foursquare Sarnia Church also hosted a pizza lunch for the crew, and are planning another one.

“The guys loved it,” said Lopes. “Usually we get people saying thanks for the help and whatnot. But they’re all feeding us here.

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