Sept. 18, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER
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Volunteer Chimney Sweeps Spiff Up White House

The crew rolled into town Sunday and worked out of the White House on Monday and Tuesday. Schmittinger said that between sweeping and video scanning (there have been considerable advances in chimney maintenance technology since the days of "Mary Poppins"), each chimney takes about two hours to complete.

Every year, they celebrate at the nearby Old Ebbitt Grill once the job is done.

"We go in the back and have a few drinks," Schmittinger said. "And if you show up, you better like oysters. We kill more oysters than anyone in the District."

Despite how long he's been at it, Schmittinger doesn't take even one moment of the experience for granted.

"I go up to the roof of the White House and I just have to pinch myself," he said. "You look down on these folks sticking their cameras through the fence and you know they'd give anything to change places with you. I mean, that's what's so great about this country. How does this happen to a chimney sweeper from Waukesha?"

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