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‘It’s your smile and your wave’: B.C. street cleaner marks 25 years

‘Everything should be done the Harold Zinke way,’ says Trevor McDonald with Chilliwack BIA

He’s known as the unofficial mayor of downtown Chilliwack, and on Friday Harold Zinke was recognized by the real mayor, and others, on his milestone employment anniversary.

May 10 marked 25 years for Zinke who cleans up trash on the streets of the city’s downtown area.

“You truly are an ambassador to our downtown,” said Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove.

He started working for the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association on May 10, 1999.

“The day I got hired in 1999, I fell in love with this job because I like to keep our streets nice and clean so that people, when they go for their walk, they see that everything looks so nice,” Zinke said back in 2019 on his 20th anniversary.

READ MORE: Hats off to Harold Zinke and his 20 years with the Chilliwack BIA

It’s been calculated that he walks 25,000 steps a day. And, yes, he got the day off on Friday.

That morning he got to sit in the mayor’s chair in council chambers at City Hall and bang the gavel, as people gathered to celebrate him, and his hard work and warm personality.

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Harold Zinke, seen here with Cpl. Brad Rendall, was honoured at City Hall for his 25th anniversary with the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association on Friday, May 10, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

“It’s your smile and your wave,” said Cpl. Brad Rendall.

He’s worked alongside Zinke for many years.

“Our jobs are actually similar. We’re both out there cleaning up the streets of Chilliwack, and at times I think Harold gets it done better than what we do.”

Plus, he’s like a ninja with his garbage grabber.

“I’m sure he can pick up a dime with it,” Rendall said.

He presented Zinke with an RCMP challenge coin to “signify the recipient is part of the Upper Fraser Valley RCMP team, which you are.”

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Harold Zinke was honoured at City Hall for his 25th anniversary with the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association on Friday, May 10, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Zinke was also given a T-shirt with the words ‘The unofficial mayor of downtown Chilliwack - 25 years’ on it, plus a Chilliwackopoly board game, and an ‘H. Zinke Way’ street sign.

Since they cannot name a street after him, they gave him “the next best thing” which was a street sign to hang in his apartment, Popove said.

“Harold, you can hold that sign up again because everything should be done the Harold Zinke way,” said Trevor McDonald, executive director with the BIA.

He added that Zinke comes to work every day with a smile on his face and has never had a bad thing to say about anybody.

“His grace and his class and his dignity are an example for everybody here and our whole community,” McDonald said.

READ MORE: ‘Million-dollar smile’: Chilliwack street cleaner gets new teeth thanks to generous community

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Harold Zinke was honoured at City Hall for his 25th anniversary with the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association on Friday, May 10, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)




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