The snow may be melting, but memories of the near-record snowfall on Feb. 1-2 linger on. While I was bundled up in my Cubs blanket, viewing the conditions on Lake Shore Drive on TV, Riverside resident Gary Zeleny was where the action was as a cameraman for Fox TV.

Zeleny has been with Fox 32 for 29 years, starting out as a graphic artist. He then became a studio supervisor, and for the last nine months has worked as an outside cameraman, many times with a reporter to do a live shoot.

Zeleny’s day on Feb. 2 began earlier than expected. He left Riverside in the early morning by train. What should have been a 20-minute train ride turned into a 2-hour commute, with a train car derailing and signals going out.

Arriving at Union Station, without a cab or a bus to be found, he began the mile walk to the WFLD-TV studio. That should have been a quick walk, but bucking the wind made it a 40-minute walk.

“Getting there was an adventure,” Zeleny said.

Zeleny and crew, which included reporter Anita Padilla, were to set up at inner Lake Shore Drive and Burton Place. It’s not an easy place to get to, and their vehicle followed behind a fire truck and used their path.

The station came on live at about 3:45 a.m., and Zeleny says they remained there for eight hours. Due to the wind they from time to time, had difficulty transmitting their signal.

Much of what they covered was people being rescued from their stalled cars. Zeleny recalled the kindness of residents from the nearby high rises, many of whom offered coffee to those stranded. One person even made cupcakes.

Residents offered people a place to stay warm, although some did not want to leave their cars. The courtesy of the building personnel also extended to the TV crew, who at times were working in white-out conditions.

Covering the blizzard went on for the next few days, filming the removal of cars and the clearing of the streets and alleys. Zeleny remarked how many pitched in to help. He remembered coming upon a group from the Mayor’s office who had volunteered to clear off the crosswalks around Ashland and Roosevelt. All in all, it was quite an experience.