Richard Sands, a parks and beaches maintenance worker, was selected for Monroe County’s Second Quarter Employee Service Award for his noteworthy performance above and beyond his job expectations. Sands stepped in to fill a critical position when staffing shortages became a problem for the county’s Marine Resources Office’s vessel pump-out program earlier this year.

In August 2020, the city of Key West began temporarily assisting with the service after a new contract with the previous vendor could not be established. Since then, the county has provided temporary pump-out workers to assist in pumping out vessels in the Key West and Stock Island anchorages.

“Richard Sands has been a key asset in providing this temporary duty by serving as a full-time mate on the city’s pump-out vessels,” said Monroe County Marine Resources Administrator Celia Hitchins. “Without his assistance during the past three months, this service could not have continued operations and would likely have resulted in negative impacts to our nearshore water quality and public health.”

Sands shifted his work schedule, was willing to learn a new skill and performed what some would consider a less than desirable task to help the community.