Apr 18, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterPaul Throckmartin said he had dirty job duties when he started working for the City of Riverton more than 37 years ago.
In 1976, he began his service to the citizens of the city in the public services lands division sanitation department by picking up 55-pound steel barrels topped with garbage and rubbish and dumping them into the city's garbage trucks.
"It was dirty work, but maybe I was a little strange because I liked it," said Throckmartin, who retired from the city's public services department this year. "I liked to see what people threw away. ... That's how they got rid of everything."
There were fewer restrictions as to what people could throw away back then, he said.
"We even took appliances," Throckmartin added, "back when we could."
Now, residents must take their appliances to area landfills. And city workers no longer are required to physically toss the garbage, now that new equipment does the heavy lifting.
By 1979, Throckmartin said, the old, steel dumping barrels residents once used as trash receptacles were replaced with larger, metal containers that could be lifted and emptied by specialized garbage trucks.
Throckmartin also spent some of his early years in the streets department, which included about 20 employees when he joined the crew.
The department now handles more than 70 miles of streets and 15 miles of alleys within city limits, cleaning streets, painting crosswalks, repairing potholes, striping roads, removing snow and controlling ice.
Later, Throckmartin worked at the city's water treatment plant, where he helped operate and maintain the facility and its associated wells, booster station and reservoirs.
In 1978 he was named supervisor of the streets department.
Over time, Throckmartin said he has witnessed welcome changes to the city's personnel, equipment and protocols.
"I believe things have to grow and have to change, otherwise they stay stagnant," he said.
He has enjoyed working for people and with people, who help make his job much easier.
Illinois to Wyoming
Throckmartin and his wife originally are from Central-Eastern Illinois, where he worked at a glass factory before he moved to Wyoming.
Throckmartin spent four years in the Marine Corps and moved to Alton, Ill., afterward, to welcome the birth of his son.
His son developed pneumonia, however, and the doctor recommended moving to a drier climate. Throckmartin had a friend in Wyoming who suggested the family head west. After living in other cities in Wyoming, Throckmartin said he chose Riverton.
"We've been all over the state, and there's no other place I'd like to live in," Throckmartin said.
He mentioned the optional 1 percent sales tax that passed in 2012 to help pay for repairs to streets, sewers and water lines in the city. He said he supported the tax, and he will continue to support it because of the aging roads apparent in the city.
As a new retiree, he said he's looking for more activities --as long as they don't take him out of Wyoming. He expects to spend more time with his two granddaughters. Throckmartin also has decided to make use of his camper to go fishing and hunting.
"I won't have any deadlines I'll have to meet, so (that) will make it more enjoyable," he said.
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