Journal readers share notes of gratitude for their neighbors
Editor’s note: First, thank you to all who sent in tributes for our annual “Thank You” feature. I treasure these notes very much. I have many people I want to thank this year, too. For starters, I’m very grateful for the wonderful folks at Minnesota Premier Publications — our publishers Janis Hall and Terry Gahan, the dedicated sales team, creative superstars with the production crew and our talented news team. I’m inspired everyday by the dedication to quality community journalism of our assistant editor Jake Weyer and reporters Dylan Thomas and Cristof Traudes. We’ve also worked with several stellar interns this year. And a special thanks to our wonderful columnists and contributors. The Journal would not be the same without their outstanding work and commitment to our paper. Finally, thank you readers! We value your support and feedback so much. Best wishes for 2010.
— Sarah McKenzie
A standout school
I would like to nominate the students, parents and staff of Carondelet Catholic School. Each month the school hosts a food drive, partnering with Waite House just to the north of them in the Phillips neighborhood. The drives are fun and challenging, with contests and games. Last year the school donated over 15,000 pounds of food to Waite House, helping to feed those in need.
At Thanksgiving, in addition to the food drive, the students organize a basket providing a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings for 25 families in the Phillips neighborhood and then personally deliver them. This year, with the need greater than it has ever been, they also raised over $500 dollars to donate to the food shelf.
Along with the food collections every month, special drives are made throughout the year. They have collected mittens, art and school supplies, Christmas boxes and Toys For Tots. Halloween candy is collected and donated.
Students also donate their time by visiting the elderly, working in the Minneapolis park system planting flowers and pulling weeds, raking leaves and shoveling snow for elderly neighbors. They also volunteer at the food shelf and Feed our Starving Children along with raising money for national organizations that feed, clothe, educate and provide clean water for people in far away places.
All of this is done with an open heart and open hand, teaching the students the importance of giving back while making Southwest and their world a better place.
Having missed the deadline [of the Thank You issue] the past two years, I was determined not to let another year slip by without expressing our gratitude to Pat and Bob of Ellwood’s Automotive for their careful attention to my family’s automobiles.
For several years, they have provided unfailingly clear explanations and alternative “courses of treatment,” often (at times, too often!) on an emergency basis. Having a trustworthy mechanic is every bit as important as having a family doctor one can trust. And, like a respected doctor they have stood by us and advised us on “end of life” decisions as well as helping us welcome — and even once delivering to us — “new additions” to the family.
Their honesty, professionalism, friendliness, humor, compassion, and expertise are the hallmarks of their work. I know every time that if they diagnose a problem and recommend a repair, it needs to be done, and will be fixed correctly. The peace of mind this has provided over the years, is, as the commercials say, priceless. Thank you guys! Here’s hoping you continue to contribute your skills to our community for many more years.
& daughter Sarah Black
I am thankful for our community and especially for my neighbor, Bob Meyer. Bob and his wife Dorothy have lived in the Kingfield Neighborhood, in the same home, for over 50 years.
When we moved here 30 years ago, they were the first to welcome us. Bob is the neighbor who is always ready to help. His snow blower goes up and down Lyndale, clearing much more than his own sidewalk. In the summer he may help a neighbor with lawn mowing. If a neighbor is gone, Bob picks up the mail and keeps an eye on the house. When an elderly neighbor was unable to drive any longer, it was Bob who made sure she had a ride. When he was younger, many neighbors received a plate of homemade Christmas cookies every year. My children have fond memories of Bob’s gingerbread men!
Bob and Dorothy have their house up for sale now, looking to move to a smaller space with less maintenance. I suppose it is too much to hope that the new owners will blow out our sidewalks (smile), but I do hope whoever they are, they realize what wonderful folks they are following. And I hope I remember to welcome them in the way Bob welcomed us.
Kind souls on Garfield
My husband and I are very thankful for my neighbors Anders Christensen and Keith Engel. Last summer, while I was in the midst of helping care for my brother and father who were both dying of cancer, these wonderful neighbors took our boulevard on as their special project. It had been a mess for a couple years since losing our elm trees. Anders and Keith cleaned out and hauled the rocks and extra dirt, supplied the plants, designed it, did all the planting, and even cleaned it out this fall. We are so grateful for them and for the kindness of our other neighbors on the 43rd block of Garfield.
and Ken Bearman
Skating rink saviors
To Jim & Jean Patsch, Michael Keller and David McIntosh,
Thank you for contributing to our ice rink. We could not have done it without your front yard and craftsmanship. If you weren’t here, our dad would still be struggling on the first board.
P.S. Dad we can’t wait to skate. We love you.
Lucy and Quinn Kiernat (ages 8 and 10)
A creative community leader
I’d like to nominate Steve Jevning, the man behind Leonardo’s Basement at 43rd and Nicollet. While Leonardo’s Basement is a true community effort that wouldn’t succeed without dozens of committed volunteers, Steve is the glue that holds the organization together and keeps it focused and moving forward. Leonardo’s Basement is a place for kids and adults alike to discover their inner artist and geek selves in an atmosphere of collaborative learning and exploration. Under Steve’s leadership the organization has, over the last 10 years, persisted in providing unique classes for kids (and later adults) that allow hands on tinkering and exploration with art and technology in a low risk and low cost environment. The Basement provides leadership opportunities for teens and just plain fun classes for everyone else. I’m sure it would have been easy for Steve to hang up the apron at many points over the years, but his commitment to helping kids of all skills and abilities to succeed has never waivered, and those of us that live in the area have the good fortune to see the fruits of his work in the kids who populate our schools and enrich our neighborhoods.
Always lending a hand
I would like to say a very heart felt THANK YOU to my neighbor and friend Rick Bonneville. Rick is a jack-of-all trades and there is nothing in your home or car that he can’t fix.
Yesterday he spent the day in his angel workshop working on a neighbor’s Christmas angel that blew a fuse, or shorted out, or lost its lights. I’m not sure exactly what the problem was but neighbor Rick quickly diagnosed the issue and now the angel is back on someone’s front yard shining brightly on us all (much like Rick’s heart).
Your PROBLEM quickly becomes his next PROJECT and he is always more than willing to help a neighbor out. Do not even try to go anywhere with this man a snowy Minnesota night as you will never arrive at your destination on time.
Rick will stop on the highway to tow anyone or push anyone out who has become stuck in a snow bank. We came upon a car that had spun out and became stuck in the snow on the side of the highway. I told Rick we can not stop, if we do we will be late, but Rick said: “we have to help him!”
That seems to be his daily mantra: “If anyone is in trouble he is not slow … he will be there to help out and away you go.” All of us living near Van Nest are very blessed to have Rick Bonneville as our neighbor and friend.
Thank you, Rick! You are one of the most generous people I’ve ever met.
Friends for a furry one
Thanks to all our neighbors, around the corner, across Lyndale and also down the street. You know who you are. Our beloved dog Nina is a dazzling escape artist, and she has figured out dozens of ways to make a getaway.
Maybe you know her? If we leave the gate to our fenced backyard open for even a second, she dashes out. She has opened the gate on her own countless times (despite two different latches!) and gone partying in the neighborhood. We live right on Lyndale, so we really appreciate the kindness of our neighbors who have taken her into their homes, cars, garages, or yards and kept her safe until we could retrieve her. She’s usually dirty, smelly, and exhausted from her misadventures, but always safe.
Thanks to so many of you for taking her in, then calling us to come and get her! We really appreciate it! Someday we will find a latch that she can not undo!
Patty Born Selly
A reliable friend
This year, I am giving tons of thanks to my dear friend Cindy, who is there for me no matter what. She is consistently on time for our coffee "gritches," never without a smile of hello, and often reminds me that I am capable of working things out.
Cindy is strong and weighs each word preciously. She is into healthy pursuits. This helps to remind me that taking care of my self, my body and my spirit has been an important part of healing at all times from all, even minor, things.
The exchange of kind words, the offer of help, the quiet word to build confidence; all these make me realize that Cindy truly epitomizes what a dear friend really is for — a rock. Cindy is truly the most dearly nice person I know.
A snow angel
Last winter after the first snowfall, I heard a snow blower outside the front window. I looked out but didn’t recognize the bundled up man. Only his eyes showed. I opened the door and said, "Who are you?" He said, "I’m Steve, your next door neighbor’s son." He kept our walks cleared all winter and did them again yesterday. Thank you, Dr. Steve McCabe. We appreciate it.
Mrs. John Hansen
Thank you, Charlie Lentz, for helping people with mental illness find housing
We owe a big thank you to our Southwest neighbor Charlie Lentz, who is retiring from Spectrum Community Mental Health, a division of RESOURCE, after 30 years of service to people with mental illness.
When Charlie was hired in 1979, we had one housing program for people with mental illness in Minneapolis, which served only about 20 clients at a time. Now we have numerous housing programs throughout the city and the suburbs that serve almost 900 people with mental illness; well over 300 of them are in programs Charlie is responsible for. He is passionate about his beliefs, including making sure people who are vulnerable get what they need to live a better life.
When he started his career, we didn’t have community support programs for people with mental illness — now Spectrum operates three of them in Hennepin County. And Charlie was instrumental in making that happen. One year, his family actually left for a vacation ahead of him, so he could finish writing the funding proposals for these programs.
Charlie has played a key role at Spectrum for three decades in helping us think big and move forward in our mission to help people with mental illness. We intend to continue to build on that tradition.
Karen Hovland, director
Spectrum Community Mental Health, a division of RESOURCE
A trail blazer
I want to thank Michael, who lives on the corner at the top of the hill, for clearing the sidewalk all the way down the block every time there’s more than a couple inches of snow.