April 26, 2018 edition of the Chariton Herald-Patriot f
By Bill Howes
For nearly six decades, Bill “Scooter” Darrah of Chariton has been an exemplary figure in the garbage hauling business. He has provided the most dedicated, efficient and loyal service to his many customers over the years while also being their friend and someone they greatly respect as well.
Darrah retired on April 1, 2018, after 57 years in the garbage hauling business. He started his 57th year in business with Darrah Garbage, which he founded himself, in March 1961. Midwest Sanitation and Recycling has taken over his business and is now “doing the rounds” picking up garbage for Chariton and Lucas County residents.
Darrah started his business in March 1961 when John F. Kennedy was president. He has worked through 11 U.S. presidents starting with Kennedy and ending with current president Donald Trump. The month Darrah started his business, March 1961, was the same month that then President Kennedy established the Peace Corps.
Darrah explained why he decided to retire now. “I’m 84 years old and I just thought it was about time to retire,” he said.
Darrah provided both residential and commercial garbage service to Lucas County residents. At the time he retired he said he had 700-800 customers, but when he started his business he didn’t have any. When asked who his first customer was, Darrah had a humorous response.
“Myself,” he said laughing.
Actually, Darrah’s first customers were his parents and some close friends. When Darrrah started he used an old-style packer vehicle that was chain-driven instead of hydraulic. A few years after he started Darrah bought a newer style truck that was hydraulic.
“At that time people used the regular 20-gallon metal garbage cans and we usually went to the back of people’s houses to pick their trash up. We also hauled the garbage to an old dump south of town down past where the bypass is now by Lockridge,” he said.
Back then they only had to go a few blocks south of town to dump garbage and it was free to dump there. Now they go 70 miles round trip to the landfill at Tracy, Iowa, in Marion County and they pay about $40 a ton to dump it.
When Darrah started, they picked up garbage on different days of the week like they do now. They also charged people $1.50 a month for garbage service when he started. “We charge from $14 to $20 a month now,” he said.