By Debbie Gregory.
Few people enjoy a neighborhood stroll quite as much as 95-year-old Harvey Djerf.
For as long as anyone in the Plymouth, MN neighborhood can remember, the beloved World War II veteran has spent his retirement walking the neighborhood, twice a day.
But at 95 years old, sometimes Djerf needs to take a load off. One day, he noticed that one of his neighbors left a chair in their yard for him. That kindness proved contagious. One day, another resident put out a chair. And then, another. Today, the neighborhood is speckled with chairs. Harvey chairs.
“It’s kind of snowballed now. I’m up to 12 chairs now,” he said. “They must’ve seen that I was pausing and catching my breath and that’s when they probably took pity on me.”
To do themselves one better, during the winter, residents shovel a path to the chairs. They also bring him lemonade and cookies on hot days. And many times, there’s a fresh cooked meal for Djerf.
A resident of the neighborhood for 66 years, Djerf appreciates the kindnesses his neighbors extend to him, especially since his wife has moved into an assisted living facility following a stroke last June.
Djerf was a member of the European Theater of Operations with Battery D in the 126th Anti-Aircraft Gun Battalion. Following his service in WWII, Djerf and his wife had five children, and he became a biology teacher.
Djerf’s neighborhood know that it takes a village, and they have become that for him. They have also found a way to say, “Thank you for your service.”