Neighbors Perform Small Act Of Kindness That Meant Big Help For Veteran

A World War II veteran still likes to keep in shape by taking daily walks. The problem is, when you're 95, walking long distances can be a challenge. The veteran found his neighbors were more than willing to help him. When the vet needs a little rest, his neighbors make sure there is a place for him to do it.

Harvey Djerf looks forward to his daily walks. “I’ve always liked to walk,” Harvey says. “I feel better if I walk.”

Walking does keep you healthy and fit, and Djerf is proof of that. He takes two walks per day, year-round, regardless of weather. But as Djerf has aged, it's become a little more difficult to keep up the pace. He's 95 years old, and his neighbors noticed that he was slowing down.

"People saw me stopping and catching my breath,” he tells KARE 11. “They figured maybe Harvey needs a place to rest.”

He did indeed need a place to rest, and his neighbors were quick to provide him with many places from which he could choose. Just about every household put a random chair out in their front yard somewhere so that Djerf can have a seat and catch his breath when on his daily hikes.

Tom and Melanie Heuerman are two locals who got the idea to put out a chair for Djerf. They knew he walked by every day, and they noticed once that he stopped for a few minutes to rest on a neighbor's lawn chair.

“We put one out and he found it the very next day,” Melanie says.

“We wanted him to honor us with his presence,” said Tom. “It’s kind of status symbol in the neighborhood to have a chair out for Harvey.”

Neighbors do their best to make the local veteran comfortable. They'll bring him cookies or a beverage. They'll place the chair near some pretty flowers. If it snows, they'll shovel a path to the chair for him. They'll come out and shoot the breeze with him for a while if they have the time. They're always delighted to see when he's come for a brief visit.

Djerf is happy for the company as well. He's been married for 69 years, but his wife had a stroke and has been living in a nursing home.

“It’s lonesome being alone,” Djerf says, so he's very happy to see his neighbors in his daily travels.

“They get nothing out of it really,” Djerf incorrectly insists. “I’m the recipient of their kindness.”

But the neighbors do get a lot out of his visits. They're happy to see him, too.

“I'll just peek out the window, ‘Harvey’s in the chair!’” said Ann Kleiner, another resident. “He brings my day a lot of joy... First thing in the morning and later in the afternoon too.”

Djerf is hoping that his story will inspire other people to perform a kindness for their own neighbors. “Maybe other neighbors will be encouraged to do things like my neighbors have done for me,” he says.

Source: KARE 11
Photo: KARE

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