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Kenny Roberts retires after nearly six decades in the trash business

  • Kenny Roberts of Roberts Disposal in Eldorado, with one of his garbage trucks.

    Kenny Roberts of Roberts Disposal in Eldorado, with one of his garbage trucks.
    Travis DeNeal photo

 
 
updated: 9/4/2017 9:02 PM

ELDORADO -- Today marks the end of a career for an Eldorado man who's been working the same job since 1960.

Kenny Roberts of Roberts Disposal said he's hauled his share of trash during the past 57 years and now he'll enjoy retirement.

Roberts, 76, moved with his family from the Chicago area years ago.

"We were working in Chicago and we got laid off, so we came down here," Roberts said. "Dad started hauling for the neighbors, and shortly after that there was a city-wide cleanup effort."

At the time, Roberts made 25 cents a week hauling garbage.

After some time, he had the opportunity to acquire another waste service and build up his business.

"John Miller had his route, and we bought him out, so we picked up 300 customers that way," Roberts said. "Then we got schools and businesses."

Roberts Disposal has been operating two trucks for several years, he said. Kenny drives one, and his brother James, better known as Jimmy, would drive the other.

He said that he doesn't have any huge plans for how to spend his retirement.

"I'm just going to take'er easy for now," Roberts said. "I have an El Camino I might restore."

He said restoring the car would be a nice change of pace from doing necessary maintenance on the garbage trucks.

"When we were running, we always had to do work on trucks. I've painted several of them over the years," he said.

Roberts said while there isn't a single memory that stands out from his years of work, there was an occasional and unavoidable repeat occurrence periodically.

"There were a few times when I blew out a tire on a trash truck," he said. "That'll shake you up a bit."

One of Roberts' longtime customers, David Phelps of Eldorado, said he has a great deal of respect for the longtime work Roberts has done.

"My whole family was raised with a strong work ethic; that you don't expect anybody to give you anything and that you have to work for it," Phelps said. "You have to hang in there for whatever time it takes to give a job its real worth."

Phelps said Roberts deserves praise for his commitment to the local community.

"He hasn't had a sick day or or holiday," Phelps said. "To me, every job is important, especially in rural areas. Anybody who sticks to a job, is committed and loyal to a little local area sure has my respect. I truly respect him. I know all his family. They're good people and he's a good man."

A retirement celebration for Kenny Roberts is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Eldorado American Legion.