The new year is already looking much different than how the last one ended at Fort Drum.

Little evidence remains of the nearly 40 inches of snow that fell during the Blizzard of ‘22, which began Dec. 23 with wind gusts of up to 54 mph that created massive drifts across the installation.

“It was tough,” said Sean Johnson, Fort Drum Public Works’ Municipal Services Branch chief. “You had the constant winds blowing the snow so, at times, there was zero visibility. It certainly made it a challenge for the employees working.”

Johnson said that the PW Roads and Grounds crew did a phenomenal job with snow removal operations.

“They really had to be on top of their game out there, to be able to move that kind of snow and deal with those conditions,” he said. “I think it was a little better for those who were higher up in the road plows, but for anyone lower to the ground it was difficult to see where you were going.”

As if the holidays aren’t stressful enough, Johnson said employees had to juggle work and family commitments while battling the storm.

“A lot of people had to reschedule their holiday dinners and celebrations to support the mission,” he said. “You have the stress of finishing a 12-hour day here, and then they go home and had to clear more snow from their driveways or deal with whatever was going on in their own personal lives. I think with the type of environment we were dealing with, it would put a lot of stress on any workforce.”

Still, Johnson said that the snow-clearing crew has a lot of pride in their ability to keep the roads clear and facilities accessible during a storm. For those responsible for runway operations at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, the mission took on greater significance to bring a plane full of Soldiers home from an overseas deployment.