There’s plenty to see outside Jeanne Thompson’s front window — stunning views of the foothills, a large swath of open space and Roxborough State Park — but it’s the heavy equipment rumbling across the street that catches her eye every day.
While the sights and sounds of construction may not be a welcome sight for some, the long-time Denver Water customer has grown to love the hustle and bustle in front of her Littleton home.
“They look like little boys playing with big toys,” Thompson said. “I especially like watching the big excavator in action.”
There’s been plenty for Thompson to see over the past two months, as Denver Water and crews from Concrete Works of Colorado repaired the pipes inside two concrete vaults that sit directly across from her Littleton home.
Vaults are underground rooms that provide access to water pipes, valves and controls under city streets.
At 83, Thompson isn’t just an observer; she’s part of the team.
“Just about every afternoon I bring them cans of Coke and Mountain Dew along with cups of ice,” Thompson said. “It’s fun and it gives them a nice break in the middle of the afternoon.”
Thompson credits her late husband Mel with the idea of delivering refreshments. She said it began in 1989, when he thought it would be nice to offer cold sodas to the workmen building their fence.
“The men were very appreciative, so we started doing it every time construction crews came to work in the neighborhood,” she said. “I enjoy doing it, and it’s a nice way for me to remember my husband.”
The workers wanted her to be safe, and gave her a hard hat and orange safety vest to wear around the construction site. They admit they were a bit surprised when Jeanne first came over.
“I’ve been doing construction for 20 years, and this is the first time anyone’s ever come over like that,” said Bryan Rossman, Concrete Works of Colorado equipment operator. “It really makes us feel appreciated for the work we’re doing here.”
Along with her daily deliveries, Thompson also leaves sodas out on the front porch so workers can stop over whenever they’re thirsty.
“The guys really appreciate Jeanne,” said Lance Paplow, Denver Water project inspector. “It feels good getting to know the people who benefit from all this work.”
The project was more than just entertainment for Thompson, it also helped her understand the complexities of Denver Water’s delivery system. “I think it would be good for everyone to watch and learn how much work goes into maintaining these pipes,” she said.
Workers will wrap up the repairs in mid-April, and Thompson admits it’s a bittersweet ending. “I’ll miss seeing all the guys when they leave,” she said. “But it’s nice to know we shouldn’t have any water problems for a long time.”