Lifelong resident Charles Jemison is proud of Shaker and gives residents the best service possible.
Interview by Jennifer Proe
Who: Charles Jemison.
Where: Lives in the Moreland neighborhood.
Business: I’m a truck driver and rubbish crew worker for the City of Shaker Heights Service Department. I have worked here for eight years.
Professional Mission: To give residents of Shaker Heights the best quality service they deserve, keeping our city and neighborhoods clean, and doing it safely and efficiently.
Personal Background: I have lived in Shaker Heights my entire life, and I couldn’t see living anywhere else. My mother, JoAnn, and my father, Charles Jemison, were married on Chelton Road in 1965 and moved into the house next door. My mother still lives in that house. I went to Moreland Elementary School, then Woodbury Junior High for one year, and then I was part of the first class that went to Shaker Middle School. I graduated from the High School in 1990.
My oldest son, Charles, went to Shaker schools and now attends the Chicago Institute of Art. My younger son, Giovanni, is at Shaker Middle School. My wife, Christa (principal at Mary Bethune School in Cleveland), grew up on the West Side of Cleveland, so it was hard to convince her to move here at first. The friendliness and openness of the community are what finally won her over. She would see people at Heinen’s and they would say hi and recognize her as my wife. That made her feel very welcome here.
What I love about my work: My work is great. I love the camaraderie with the guys. And yes, it can be fun to drive the scooters, but not so much in the bad weather. Last winter was probably the worst in 20 years!
We really get close to some of the residents. Sometimes they come out and have conversations with us, or thank us. One time, I found some keys that were lying on a resident’s driveway in the snow, and put them on top of her garbage can lid where she could find them. She called the Service Department to thank me personally. I felt grateful that she took the time out to do that. I ended up receiving a customer service award along with some of the other Service Department workers and we had lunch with the Mayor.
We recently had a town hall meeting about recycling, which has really grown in Shaker. It’s very exciting that we are taking a lot of positive steps to do more in this area.
On Working and Living in Shaker Heights: I love being close to home and not having much of a commute. I’m very proud of my city and I like giving residents the best service I can. I have to say that what really makes Shaker a special place are the services. I have to applaud all of the service workers in Shaker, including the police and the firefighters.
I also appreciate the parks, like Horseshoe Lake Park and Thornton Park, for spending time with family. I like to eat at Boston Market at Shaker Towne Centre, and my long-time favorite place is Baskin-Robbins. I just can’t get enough of that chocolate chip ice cream.
Contact: Public Works Department, 216-491-1490.