Jon Creano hadn’t been on a residential route for three months. 

But on the morning of December 2, 2021, the dedicated Recology relief driver* was called to a new route that put him at the right place at the right time to save two lives. 

“Now I believe that everything happens for a reason,” said Jon.  

It was on this day that Jon was turning down a residential street in Vallejo when he began smelling something burning. As he got closer to one house, he noticed there was smoke coming out of the garage. Pulling up to the home, he quickly realized that the garage was on fire. 

Jon immediately called the fire department and then checked to see if anyone was home. He knocked numerous times and kept ringing the doorbell. Even after a minute of no response, he kept trying. 

“I realized that a lot of us leave somebody behind when we go to work, and I thought there could have been a child inside,” said Jon. 

Sure enough, Jon was right.  A woman finally appeared and seemed surprised by Jon’s insistent knocking. She was unaware of the fire in her garage, and when Jon notified her, she quickly ran back inside yelling out for a little girl. When the two emerged, they appeared to be pretty shaken up.  Thanks to Jon’s quick actions, firefighters were able to extinguish the flames and get her car out of the garage before it caused too much damage. 

Later, the woman applauded Jon for his heroic deed and said if it wasn’t for him, she would have died.  

“Until now, I didn’t realize I had made such an impact,” Jon shared. “I’m just glad that I was there to help them out.” 

Jon has been a Recology employee-owner for five years, and according to company leaders, it’s not a surprise to hear about him helping community members in this way.  

“Jon is always looking to help where he can,” Operations Manager Bill Burrage said. “As one of the ‘go-to’ members of our team, he is always willing to step up and do so with a positive attitude.” 

“Everyone at Recology is very proud of Jon and grateful that he was there that day and did what he did,” said Assistant General Manager Derek Nelson. “It’s a true testament to his commitment and how much he cares for our community.” 

As a father of four girls, Jon says that reflecting on the incident, it hits pretty close to home. He hopes his example inspires others to reach out to help people when needed.

“I just hope that if anybody is in the position to help somebody, I would say go for it. You never know who you’re helping out there.”

*Relief drivers, also called casual drivers, are experts that are trained on and capable of operating every piece of Recology equipment.