Deerfield Residents and Workers Cope with the Blizzard’s Chilly Effects

Adam Kooperman may be one of the few people in the Chicago region who was excited to get to work Wednesday morning.

He owns a recruiting and hiring firm called CultureFit Technology Staffing that is conveniently three blocks from his Deerfield home.

“This is great for me,” he said, while stopped at a gas station to buy a pack of gum. “All the candidates and applicants I’ve got to talk to are at home.”

Since they are not sitting at their desks at work “they can talk freely about new jobs,” said a gleeful Kooperman.

But for many, the overnight blizzard led to unsafe commutes or a day off from work.

The blizzard provided two Deerfield residents with both plenty of snow and open space to practice snowboarding Wednesday morning. They took turns pulling each other behind their truck in a Deerfield parking lot. (Photo submitted by Jeremy Mlaker)

Jeremy Mlaker and a friend were at the Jewel Wednesday morning picking up frozen pizzas and beer.

“Just for this afternoon, more or less,” he said.

He had the day off from his intern job at a downtown counseling organization.

Mlaker and his friend said they planned to stay warm and relaxed at home in Deerfield, watching movies. But they had already gotten some snow-related excitement that morning, pulling each other on snowboards behind their car in an empty parking lot.

But not everyone was off from work.

Javier Perez drove his snowplow-equipped truck to Deerfield from Elgin on Tuesday in preparation for a full day.

“This is the worst I’ve seen,” said Perez on Wednesday morning as he was filling up his tank at a gas station.

Though he got an early start, much of his efforts seemed futile. He had spent his early hours plowing and re-plowing snow from a parking lot at the nearby Walgreens.

“Right now it’s difficult because the air blows the snow around,” Perez said, adding he expects to be in his truck plowing until midnight.

Like Perez, predictions of a blizzard resulted in several area employees bunking for the night near their jobs.

Mandy Fletcher, a Deerfield Jewel-Osco employee, said she lives north of Waukegan in Beach Park. Tuesday evening, after work, she went home to grab some clothes and personal effects and returned to a motel near the grocery store.

A deserted, snowy cart sat a pump of a Deerfield gas station Wednesday. (John P. Huston, Tribune reporter)

The normally 45-minute commute took more than an hour and a half because of the snow.

But her commuting woes weren’t solved by the temporary digs.

Wednesday morning, she found the motel hadn’t plowed its parking lot and her car was stuck, so she called her store’s manager. She trudged through the snow to Waukegan Road where he picked her up on the roadside amid snowfall and gusting winds.

“It was treacherous,” Fletcher said. “Otherwise I would have had to walk the whole way.”

As Fletcher helped customers at the self-checkout aisle, the grocery store’s telephone rang.

Fletcher answered, listened to a question from the caller, and said, “We are open, for the moment.”