NORTHFIELD — One local man wakes up every snow day, starts up his snow blower, and clears the snow from in front of 14 houses on his street.
Jim Barkalow, who lives on East Vernon Avenue, has been taking care of his neighbors’ sidewalks during snowstorms for several years.
“He does it every snow day, “ said Marianne Manne, who lives across the street.
Mother Nature struck again.
Manne said many of the neighbors are either elderly, disabled or have other circumstances that make Barkalow’s efforts really appreciated.
But Barkalow doesn’t seek the attention his neighbors feel he deserves.
“I just do it because I have the time, and because I have a snow blower,” he said.
Barkalow is a retired track and field coach at Oakcrest High School and had been a teacher for 37 years. Even before his retirement in 2010, he would take care of his neighbors’ snow, he said.
As a teacher, he would get snow days off, so he used the time to help.
“It’s just something I do because, you know, people need help out here. And it just makes things easier on them,” he said. “It’s not hard on me and it gives me something to do.”
“It’s nice that someone thought enough of it to acknowledge it,” said his wife, Ellen.
At about 9 a.m. Monday, when the snow was still falling heavily, Barkalow was out on the street with his blower, Manne said.
Even as the snow lessened and his blower choked up, Barkalow grabbed a large gray shovel and continued where he left off.
“He is at least the winner of the good neighbor of Northfield (award),” Manne said.
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