Doug Glover and Mark Hutchinson
IT HAD BEEN A HARD DAY at work, but it wasn’t until Doug Glover (below, left) got back home to New Hampshire that he realized people had spent the time losing their minds.
“Honestly, I didn’t know about any of that,” recalls Glover of the many hours he had passed – all of Sunday, May 2, and into Monday morning – with a co-worker, Mark Hutchinson, flat on his back in a wet, cramped hole at least 20 feet deep into the ground in Weston. They were the front line, grimly welding shut a 4-inch gap in the gargantuan pipe that brings to Eastern Massachusetts much of its drinking water, a gap through which approximately 8 million gallons an hour was pouring into the Charles River. “The people out there, fighting over bottles of spring water and stuff, I didn’t know that until I got home and my wife told me,” Glover says. “She’d been watching it on the news.” While everybody above ground was having trouble staying calm, Hutchinson, 48, and Glover, 39, who work for a private contractor and between them have five decades’ experience, were below ground and the coolest people involved in the whole catastrophe.
“Things are pretty much the same now,” says Hutchinson of Plymouth, although he admits wondering about all the other old joints that are also responsible for holding the water in and the panic at bay. “I heard someone say that there are seven or nine of those joints that they were watching. I don’t know if they closed them all up.”
At a time in history when our highways are collapsing, our back roads are full of holes, and it doesn’t seem as if we can get our act together to keep our bridges from falling away right beneath us, two guys with arc welders and the skill to use them seem to be more than just what the country ordered right now. They seem like every bit a miracle.