Can you dig it? Explorers' shoveling program helps community members in need

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Shoveling snow used to be a way for youngsters to earn a few extra bucks and was often a familiar scene in neighborhoods everywhere.

The winter tradition – or chore, as some people refer to the tedious task – is no longer as commonplace anywhere around these parts.

However, it’s on the comeback locally courtesy of Mayor Joseph Polisena’s Snow Shoveling Program, which springs into action under the most difficult conditions – like the recent 10 inches that blanketed homes and businesses. The storm forced the cancellation of school in Johnston and elsewhere throughout the state.

Polisena’s program, which assists senior citizens and residents with disabilities, is staffed by the Johnston Police Explorers, a program for young men and women ages 14 to 20 who have – at one time or another – expressed an interest in pursuing law enforcement as a career.

So, when Johnston was covered in snow last week, Johnston Police Maj. Thomas H. Dolan – who coordinates Explorer Post 405 – issued the call. Almost instantly, a dozen youth police hopefuls answered the call of duty.

“Every one of our Explorers is to be commended,” Dolan said. “They each carried out their assigned duties in an outstanding manner.”

“I’m proud to have such a program,” Polisena said. “I’m always tremendously proud of our Explorers. These young people are always the first ones to step up and help our valuable senior citizens and handicapped residents who otherwise have no means of having snow removed from their properties.”

The 12 Explorers shoveled sidewalks, driveways and even helped dig out vehicles of all makes and sizes at approximately 20 locations.

More impressively, the Explorers do not – and will not – accept money for their services.

Because Polisena’s program has been highly popular, there’s often a waiting list for people who request the Explorers snow shoveling services.

“We try to get to as many people as possible, and most of the time we can meet everyone’s request,” Dolan said. “As usual, our kids did a great, great job. And remember, they don’t get paid. They do, though, earn points toward their graduation, and this is all part of our [required] community service program.”

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