When the bundle of energy that is Hillary Sheperd bursts into a room, or in this case, into the sidewalk café where our networking meeting was taking place, you can’t help but take notice. I overheard her apologize to friends for her tardiness with snippets about “traffic” and just having had to deal that day with a really “dirty, dirty” job. My ears picked up.
“You mean you do dirty work like Mike Rowe on ‘Dirty Jobs’ on TV?” I asked her as soon as I could grab her attention. “Yes, I’m the female Mike Rowe,” she responded, extending a friendly hand. More questions revealed that Sheperd is co-owner with her husband Forrest, a contractor, of a ServPro franchise serving the mid and lower Westchester area. The company handles fire and water cleanup and restoration, mold removal and remediation and other “dirty, dirty” jobs that “somebody has to do” as Mike Rowe, one of my favorite media personalities, always says and as the ServPro’s tag line states: “Like it never even happened.”
When I confessed to Sheperd that I always have held great admiration for women doing jobs typically associated with men and asked what attracted her to the business, she said, “I had worked with both Homeland Security and FEMA prior to buying this franchise and, especially with FEMA, I had dealt with the effects of disaster with that rash of hurricanes we had, one after another in 2011 and 2012. Many times I heard our ‘old-timers’ there recommend to victims of the storms that they reach out to services ‘like ServPro’ to help them clean up from disaster, rather than resort to the possibility of hooking up with some unscrupulous contractor who might take their money for materials and never come back, and they’d be victimized yet again. I knew that ServPro had a good reputation and it would be a good match for my experience in dealing with immediate response to disaster.”
As a journalist, it was my natural inclination to ask Shepard to tell me about her most “disgusting” job and her most “horrific” job. After she told me, very honestly, I was sorry I asked, especially in the case of the latter, but I feel compelled to report it, to demonstrate the extent to which these valiant service providers must sometimes go to restore living environments for the protection and safety of others.
Shepard reported that the most disgusting job her crew encountered was in a home where the occupant had a hoarding problem, including with her own human waste which she kept in her bathroom, wrapped in toilet paper, completely filling the room over many months until its capacity had been reached. When the problem was discovered, help was sought through ServPro. “My crew had to don Tyvek non-porous protective clothing and respiratory masks, but still it was the most disgusting job they had ever encountered and they have seen it all.”
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Hillary Sheperd can be reached at 914-699-5181 or at email@example.com.
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com), specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com and his blog is: www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.