MOUNT MORRIS – Jan. 19, was a day that was filled with mixed emotions for 82-year-old Leicester resident John Treadwell.
After 57 years working the salt mines of Livingston County, he cleaned out his locker at American Rock Salt for the last time and stepped into retirement, saying good-buy to his co-workers and a job that he truly loved.
“You gotta like what you do and do it the best that you can,” said Treadwell.
And that he did. But he said he had also reached a point in time where he knew it was time to stop away,
“My kids have been after me for a long time and I have been having some health problems, so I figured it was probably time to go,” said Treadwell.
Treadwell uses a cane to help him get around, but that didn’t slow him down as he has become familiar and mastered the use of pretty much every machine at American Rock Salt. He said some of the people at the company may have changed during the past five decades, the job itself has pretty much stayed the same.
It is with that knowledge that he has he has become not only one of the top miners at the company but also a person that other people at the company admire and also respect.
“What I have always said is I do the best job that I could and help other people do it and have other people do the best that they can,” said Treadwell.
He has been with the company since say one. Starting first at the old mine location in Restof back in 1966 and then moving with the opening of American Rock Salt’s mine in Mount Morris, created in 1997 when Joseph Bucci Sr., Gunther Buerman, Neil Cohen, and Charles VanArsdale entered into an asset purchasing agreement with Akzo-Nobel to acquire the assets and the developmental rights to a new salt mine.
Over the years American Rock Salt has grown and daily production of the mine can reach 20,000 tons, which makes it the largest producing salt mine in the United States.
Joe Bucci Sr., founded the company and still works there today. He says the success of the company is due the hard work of people like Treadwell.
“He has been a huge part of what has made this company so successful. If we had 400 John Treadwell’s we would not have a problem in this mine. He is an amazing man and I have known him all of my life,” Bucci Sr. said.
Bucci said Treadwell became not only one of the most dependable workers but also one of the hardest working people at the company.
“Just a few weeks ago John was underground running the clean-up machine and when he got through with a room at age 82, a shovel would not pick up what he had left after cleaning. That is how good of a job he did at 82 years of age,” Bucci Sr. said.
“He has run every piece of equipment that we have had here at the mine. At this mine and the old mine, they just do not make anyone like this guy here,” he said. “I am still here and I have been around this industry my entire life and I have never seen anything like this.”
Danny Anzalone worked alongside Treadwell for 43 years. Anzalone retired two years ago.
“John was probably the hardest working man that I ever worked with,” said Anzalone.
From working alone to being part of a team, Anzalone said, Treadwell could do it all. Because of that dedication Anzalone said everyone at the mine wanted to work with him. Anzalone said Treadwell’s work ethic was unlike anyone else.
“John was always the first one there and the last one to leave,” said Anzalone.
To many at American Rock Salt he was more than just a co-worker. He was also a true friend who came into work everyday and was dedicated to his craft. While he maybe retired Bucci and others said Treadwell is far from forgotten as they remember a man who gave it his all at work to do the best job that he could.
“He has like 57 years of service and you are never going to find anyone in the United States of America or anywhere in the World that has 57 years of mining and being underground for 57 years,” Bucci Sr. said. “He might be the oldest miner working.”