The alarm clock sounds at 5 a.m. Over the course of his career, Matt, an Avista meter reader in Spokane, has awoken and walked over 50,000 miles to provide a service that he knows is important for thousands of people. Come rain or shine, COVID-19 or not, Matt and his coworkers are reliable and familiar faces out in the community. That’s more than enough to bring him to his feet to start the day.
“I’ve had some routes for over 15 years,” Matt said, “You really get to know people on a first-name basis. I’ve watched toddlers grow up and turn into grads!”
Like most of us, Matt’s day looks different than it did just a few months ago. Shifts are now staggered. Social and common areas are closed. He even receives and turns in his paperwork outside of the building to avoid touching surfaces.
“It’s all necessary,” Matt affirms. “We have to protect ourselves and protect our customers. It’s important for me to continue my work so that people have accurate information about their usage. It helps them plan and there’s comfort in that.”
While Matt remains committed to providing an essential service to the community, the community has responded with much-appreciated support.
“I’ve realized my presence out in the community has given some people a sense of normalcy,” Matt said. “Customers are leaving us thank you notes, which really makes my day. They are engaging us in conversations– from a safe distance of course. It helps me, too – you know, feel normal.
“I’ve also seen more patience, more kindness and more resilience come out of this than ever before. Kids are checking up on their parents. Healthy folks are shopping for their at-risk neighbors. I walk past positive messages written in chalk on the sidewalk or painted on signs every day. It all matters. It all helps.”
Matt also uses his time out in the community to ease people’s minds.
”It’s been a stressful time, but that’s a bond we’re all sharing. Who isn’t stressed to some extent? If you are an Avista customer, your power will stay on. Your gas will continue to flow. We are not disconnecting anyone who is struggling to pay during this time. If you are worried, please reach out to us. We’re here for you.”
Matt Clegg, husband and a father of two, is a homegrown Spokanite. When things return to “normal,” he is most looking forward to taking his family out to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory and continuing his volunteer work.