From fixing playground equipment to searching for snow plow parts, his days center on anything Millington.
On the banks of the Fox River and straddling LaSalle and Kendall Counties, the village of over 600 residents may know him as the mayor of Millington.
Doug Holley, a lifelong resident, with a trademark camouflage cap turned backwards, hair flowing out behind, he’s been so busy with street snow removal these days, there’s no time for a shave.
Unlike other mayors or village presidents in the Fox River Valley, he goes above and beyond.
Doug Holley also is the sole operator of the unofficial Millington Public Works Department, and no need for a village administrator, he gets the price quotes. When there is a conflict in town, he has an old-fashioned remedy that still works here in rural America.
Just this week, the village’s only snow plow broke down in the midst of a snowstorm, just one of a few problems.
Around this little village, there's the old-time two-story brick school, where the village board meets upstairs. Holley attended grade school there, even lost his quarter down a hole for lunch uptown, but found it years later.
Starting out working for the village, his first job that led to many…
The mayor might be fixing a pothole, sledgehammering a busted sidewalk, watching for wandering cats, chasing a black lab dog, closing the river boat launch gate, to admonishing drivers of go-carts on the streets.
There also was the time a squirrel made a mad dash at him or the hornets whose home he disturbed in the old bell tower after he rang the clapper-less bell with his wrench. Then there is the 1996 river flood.
Now retired as a drywaller and carpenter after nearly 40 years, Holley says everything he does for the village is volunteered by him.
On Thursday, Bev Casey was working at the town’s quaint museum, the 1915 Millbrook Grade School where the village board meets. She says Holley is good at recruiting volunteers for helping around the village.
When Holley became mayor, one of his changes was saying The Pledge of Allegiance at the village board meetings first. In fact, he recalls this about his Millington school days.
But most of the days are peaceful in Millington, as the Fox River slowly flows by Jackson Island\except for a few trains rumbling across the main street.
You can listen to Mark Harrington's radio story here: