A good neighbor comes in many forms, and today, Sept. 28, is National Good Neighbor Day, a chance to celebrate the people who make your community thrive by honoring them.
It may be someone who keeps an eye on your kids when they’re playing outside or someone who pet sits for you when your family is on vacation. Here in Mill Valley, it could be the dad who never fails to pick up your daughter on his way to taking his to soccer practice or the bike nut who happily takes a a look at your son's bike that needs a fix.
Some even go above and beyond to make Mill Valley a great place to live by picking up trash in neighborhood parks or volunteering to start youth programs at the library.
Mill Valley is home to a slew of good neighbors, but few can match the consistency of Doug and Gail Dolton. At least four days a week since they moved into the Enchanted Knolls neighborhood four years ago, the couple has walked a 40-minute meandering loop from their neighborhood out to the Mill Valley Middle School and back. Along the way, they've picked up every piece of trash in sight, with Gail serving as the "spotter" and Doug wielding a long-reach trash pick-up grabber and a custom trash bag.
“When we first started walking, I’d see something on the ground and pick it up,” Doug Dolton says. “I gew up in Holland, where people are pretty tidy. We took it from there.”
Dolton estimates he uses the grabber 200 times a walk and has gone through five of the grabbers so far. He says the response from fellow neighbors, city workers and anyone who sees what they're doing has been of gratitude.
“People smile and wave at us every day,” he says. "We have a lot of people that come up and stop us and say, 'Thank you for doing this.' We really appreciate that."
Natale Cardamone, a fellow Enchanted Knolls resident and the general manager of Piazza D'Angelo, took the gratitude a step further Tuesday night. When the Doltons said they were too full for dessert after their meal, Cardamone insisted otherwise.
“I see you guys walking and picking up the trash every day,” Cardamone told the couple in delivering a complimentary pesche al forno, a baked peach dish. “I know you can eat it.”
The concept of National Good Neighbor Day began in the early 1970’s when Montana resident Becky Mattson pushed to create a holiday that would recognize people who make their neighborhoods a great place to live.
The annual event became a National Holiday in 2003 when U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) sponsored a resolution naming Sept. 28 National Good Neighbor Day.
Are there people in your community who exemplify being a good neighbor? Today is a good time to tell them that you—and the entire neighborhood—appreciate all they do.
TELL US: Who are the great neighbors in your neighborhood? Who makes Mill Valley a great place to live? Honor them by sharing your story in the comments section below.
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