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Labors of love

John HartForeman David Jefferis feels the heat Thursday on John Woolman Lane, west of Grass Valley, while working for Hansen Bros. Enterprises.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

People work for a lot of reasons besides a paycheck<a feeling of accomplishment, the chance to help others, the pride that comes from a job well done. For Labor Day, The Union asked four people what their jobs mean to them.

One turkey sandwich, a bottle of iced tea and a banana.

When it’s this hot out, that’s about all David Jefferis can stand.



“You get pretty sick of this by the end of the summer,” Jefferis admitted as he sat under the shade of a tree at the former John Woolman School, just far enough away from the backhoes and earthmovers he drives as a construction foreman for Hansen Bros. Enterprises.

The lunch break under the cool branches helped to dry the sweat off his brow. In minutes he’d be back to work, atop a bulldozer widening a crushed-rock road from 12 to 18 feet.




“I’ve been doing this job since right out of high school,” said Jefferis, 39, a married father of two small children who lives in Chicago Park. “I’m quite fortunate that I can work at a job that I truly enjoy. It’s all I know. I would do this job even if I didn’t have to.”

Jefferis plans to spend today at the river, taking a break from his 55- to 60-hour workweek. “It’s just going to be nice to spend some quality time with the kids,” he said, tugging on his soiled Caterpillar hat.

He does the bulk of his work in the hottest months of the year, when there’s no threat of rain or snow.

Jefferis’ wife is a paramedic for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s ambulance service. Like most who don’t live off trust funds, Jefferis would like to see a few more zeros in his paycheck.

“I make a good living, but it’s hard to make it with house payments and all.”

Co-worker Justin Sanders, 22, isn’t shy about praising his boss.

“Dave knows what he’s doing,” Sanders drawled while munching on a sandwich and adjusting his lawn chair. “He takes the time to explain things.”

Jefferis plans to start his own road and land-grading business next year. When he does, he’ll have his current employer to thank.

He said Hansen Bros. owner Orson Hansen is “a good man. He’s been good to my family.”


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