May 2005

Jack Messore, commissioner of public works of the City of Mechanicville, recently had a day on the job he’ll never forget — even if he can’t remember the worst part of it.

On Tuesday, March 29, at about 10 a.m., Messore, 57, was trying to clear debris from a culvert in the rain-swollen Anthony Kill, which runs through Mechanicville. While

standing on the edge of the creek, Messore was using a piece of wood to pry a big tree limb away from the opening of the 8-ft. high culvert, which, at the time, had only 3 in. of air space open. Suddenly, the strong current swept him into the 60-ft. long tunnel that ran under a street. Messore was then snagged by a branch and trapped underwater.

There he stayed for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until two contractors working at the site found Messore and freed him with the help of two volunteer firefighters.

When pulled from the creek, Messore had no pulse and “was purple from head to toe,” according to Mechanicville Police Chief Joseph Waldron, who along with another person,

performed CPR on Messore. While in an ambulance on the way to Albany Medical Center, Messore was resuscitated and arrived at the hospital (which is where his memory of the event begins) in fair condition.

Incredibly, on Monday, April 4, Messore returned to work for half days and now he’s back to working full-time. “I didn’t have much of a choice,” he said. “We only have a crew of 14, and I have to pull my weight. I’m always nervous when it comes to work. I was a private contractor for 35 years and I’m used to working. When the opportunity arises, I jump right in.”

So does retirement cross his mind now after the accident?

“I’d like to be able to but only have a few months on the job, so I don’t think they’ll let me,” he said, laughing. (Messore became commissioner in July 2004.) “Although this probably qualifies as full disability, I can’t leave. I have more things to do here still; I’m not finished yet. I love what I do … it’s a great job.”

We at Superintendent’s Profile are inspired by Jack’s speedy recovery and his passion for his work. P


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