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Photo of Sean Surgener with text that reads "Highlighting Heroes: these are the people behind the service"

It’s a weekly tradition for most Kingsport residents to take garbage carts to the curb the night before their garbage pickup. But for some residents, the garbage crew comes right to their door with the city’s back door pickup service.

Chances are, if you participate in the back door service, you’ve met this month’s Highlighted Hero, Sean Surgener.

What exactly does Sean do? Back door service is a paid garbage pick-up where the city sends a crew member, like Sean, to collect your garbage at your door. This differs from the usual garbage pickup service in that, instead of leaving your garbage carts at the curb, they are personally collected from your door. This service can be extremely helpful for citizens who might struggle to take the garbage carts to the curb every week. Some citizens may also qualify for disability or low-income waivers for this service.

Sean Surgener started working with the city four years ago, and he recognizes the importance of providing quality service to our citizens.

“Yes, it’s garbage collection,” Sean said. “However, I’m there to do the best I can for our citizens. I’m on their property and I want to be mindful and never leave a mess.”

Every Thursday is dedicated to the backdoor garbage pickup service. Sean enjoys getting to see all of the familiar people on his route and meeting new customers along the way.

“I have met so many wonderful people on my route,” Sean said. “I’ve earned their trust and I want to do a good job for them. It’s the little things that allow you to create a bond. Most of the folks on my route are on a first name basis with me. They know what time I will be there, and some make their way out to talk.”

So many of our citizens appreciate the hard work that goes into garbage pickup. One citizen, Mary C., wanted to thank Sean personally.

“You are the ideal employee—dedicated, committed, hard-working and best of all, always smiling, which is truly remarkable,” Mary said. “Thank you for being such a valuable employee to our city.”

It’s inevitable that households generate a fair share of garbage, and our garbage crews work hard every day to ensure all of our citizens’ garbage is collected and disposed of properly. The next time your garbage gets picked up, remember people like Sean who are dedicated to providing quality service to our citizens.

“I want to represent the city the best I can,” said Sean. “I know by providing this service that I’m able to help others. I want to treat them like I want to be treated.”

For information concerning backdoor garbage pickup service please call 423-229-9451 or visit