In late December 1946, a youthful Harold Patrick Fahey made his way from a North Dakota farm to the Grants Pass region. He was on vacation, visiting his sister who had married Denny Gallagher, a former Army officer turned garbage business owner. Harold celebrated New Year’s Eve with the couple, then woke up at the crack of dawn to collect the neighborhood’s garbage with Denny. It was January 1st 1947 – the day Harold attached his destiny to the waste disposal industry.
Harold worked for Denny until 1948 when he was able to secure his own garbage collection route. Meanwhile, Harold’s biological brother introduced him to Birdena, his widowed sister-in-law. They quickly fell in love and were married shortly thereafter: Two brothers were then married to two sisters – a bond that lasted through decades of change.
With Denny operating Grants Pass Sanitation, Harold (or Pat as all his friends knew him), pioneered the more rural portions of Josephine County — working for Denny during the day and soliciting new customer after hours. On August 1st 1948, Pat left Grants Pass Sanitation to work full time as owner and sole employee of Pat’s Sanitary Service.
The Faheys worked long and hard by choice, purposefully investing their time and income back into the business. Though they experienced lean times early on, the couple kept their passion and their vision moving forward. As planned, the Faheys secured additional garbage collection territories, including Rogue River, Eagle Point and Cave Junction.
With every new acquisition, the Faheys increased their staff, improved their systems and continued transforming their ordinary garbage collection business into a waste management enterprise. The coupled worked as a team with their three children in tow. Rich, Patrick and Nanci unofficially worked for SOS from the time they could walk, learning the value of a dollar and the importance of good work ethics. All through their childhood, they were encouraged to pursue a higher education and become productive citizens who contribute to the well-being of a community.
Rich served in the Vietnam War until 1969 when he returned to the family business. Patrick left home to become a full-time student. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Southern Oregon University, then spent a short time at a CPA firm in San Francisco before returning to his roots at SOS. Nanci moved to Alaska with her husband and spent 18 years as a human resource manager before returning to Grants Pass and the business her parents founded.
Birdena passed away in 1985. The elder Pat continued full-time at SOS until the mid-1990s, and passed away in 2002. He was the founding member of the Oregon Association of Refuse & Recycling Hall of Fame.
Rich, Nanci, and Patrick are retired.