LANSING, Mich. —
Every Thursday morning, Fred Gerhart waits for the trash truck to pick up the neighborhood garbage.
Once the truck sets the container down, Fred takes it back and puts it in front of the garage. But he doesn’t just return his garbage container; he does this for every neighbor in his community. That’s 96 neighbors. He’s been doing it for several years.
“I believe that it's very important for us to be positively related to our community and the people around us,” Fred says. “Too often, it's easy for us to focus on me and not other people. This gives me an opportunity to do that.”
Neighbors like Loretta Keaner couldn’t be more thankful.
“This is a community of various ages, and some of us are a little more mature than others, and it can be a challenge in bad weather to go to your into your driveway and haul it up. Fred does that automatically, even in the three feet of snow we had a little bit ago. My garbage can was by my garage, and I have one of the steeper driveways. It's godsent. It's one of those blessings that you think, oh thank you that someone did it for me.”
Not only does Fred haul up the garbage can each week, but he also does the recycling container every other week.
It means the world to neighbor Lucy U’Ren.
“He doesn't wait until the sun is up, or it's warmer in the afternoon, he's there. Every morning, early. So, yeah, it's just a selfish thing for most people, you know, we would do it if we had to, but we have Fred.”
Fred says hauling in the trash is a good work out and sometimes it gives him a chance to get better acquainted with his neighbors.
“I don't like to mindlessly walk around the neighborhood and just walk. And so as I go by, I know a number of people and I know their health issues like when Lady said, I'm having chemotherapy. Pray for me. Another lady I know has Parkinson's, and she has fallen. When I go by there, I pray for her. One lady has MS, and that's obviously a challenge. I do pray for her. Loretta is a volunteer, she actually worked at the hospice facility where my wife was when she died, and she used to come and visit my wife in the hospital there. I get some spiritual exercise praying and I get some physical exercise walking around the neighborhood.”
Fred Gerhardt, you represent what being a Good Neighbor is all about. Congratulations, you are this week’s Good Neighbor.
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