BRISTOL / STARKSBORO — Sometimes when Dave Blair is delivering fuel oil to houses around the Bristol area he sees something that’s not right — a light left on, a door left open, or even evidence of a break-in. Although he usually has more deliveries to make, he said he always calls the office or somewhere to have someone alert the homeowners.
“I’ve been a renter and a homeowner myself, and I’d hope someone would call me if they saw something wrong at my home,” Blair said. “It’s like a neighborhood watch.”
It was that kind of customer service, and his dedication to all aspects of his job, that prompted Jackman’s Inc. in Bristol to nominate Blair for the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Founder’s Award. The statewide organization last month chose Blair to receive the award, which recognizes outstanding performance and dedication to the heating fuel and service industry in Vermont.
The Founder’s Award is intended to honor the service technician, truck driver or customer service specialist that goes above and beyond. The association considers nominations from all of its members.
Jackman’s has been quite happy with Blair, who has worked at the company for 19 years.
“Dave takes great care of his company oil truck, coming in on Saturdays, if it needs servicing,” Vice President Peter Jackman wrote in his nomination of Blair for the award. “Dave takes real pride in his job and responsibilities. You cannot teach this kind of work ethic and dedication. The day he retires, not only will Jackman’s Inc. miss him, but his customers will miss him, just as much.
“He knows how to save the company money, when not to go into certain driveways in bad weather conditions. Dave takes real ownership in his job, which is so valuable to all of us here at Jackman’s Inc.”
Blair, 63, was tickled to receive the recognition, but that isn’t why he comes to work. He said he likes being outdoors and he likes the people.
“I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t like it,” he said.
Even the frigid days, when he’s delivering fuel to families on the coldest days of the year, don’t faze him.
Still, when he comes to an icy driveway, Blair knows how to take care. He said he’s never had an accident.
“I’ve got a vehicle with hazardous material in it,” Blair said. “I’m not going to jeopardize my company or myself by trying to get fuel down a driveway that is covered with glare ice like a bobsled run.”
Blair, a Starksboro resident, came to Jackman’s from a career in truck driving and construction. He says he learned to work hard in those jobs, and in his early childhood on a farm. At the moment he is laid up with a partial knee replacement, which was brought on from a lifetime of hard work and banging around. Blair expects to return to Jackman’s and hopes work there until his retirement.
Peter Jackman was effusive in his praise for Blair.
“We wish that they had not broken the mold on him, because we would want a whole crew of him,” he wrote in his nomination. “He is a truly great employee, but better than that, he is an awesome friend, community member, that we think the world of.”