Oh, the weather outside is frightful. No, seriously: for a good portion of the United States, it’s awful, freezing, slushy, gross. Thankfully, some intrepid souls have always made it their business to get out there the moment the flakes start falling, clearing city streets and rural roads with tractors, trucks and — for the longest time — with horse-drawn plows. Here, as icy storms sweep across the South, as Northern California and the Sierra Nevada contend with some of the nastiest winter weather in memory and as tire-chain season truly gets underway across most of the nation, TIME.com celebrates the unglamorous, often unsung and utterly necessary work of clearing away all that white stuff. Let it snow.