Column: A good time to be a good neighbor


If Winter Storm Harper stays on the same path, and continues to strengthen, this part of Ohio may experience blizzard-like conditions Saturday and Sunday.

And Harper’s bizarre after-effects could be felt through the coming week, too.

That means this would be a good weekend to be a good neighbor.

If you have an elderly neighbor, check on them and make sure they’re OK.

If you’re healthy enough and have some extra time — or some bored children looking for something to do — shovel their walks or outside steps, or throw down some of your salt or ice-melt. If you’re a really good neighbor, clear their driveway.

If you’ve got a snow blower, that would make these good deeds a breeze.

Also, check on your neighbors if there is a power outage or waterline break.

During this expected arctic blast, if the wind blows as forecast, it won’t take long for a home to go from cozy and warm to frigid if the electric is off. If you have extra blankets, maybe someone else could use them for a few days.

If you’re reading this Thursday night or Friday, or even early Saturday, and you know of some shut-ins, check on them. See if they need some help picking up essentials. Who knows, they might need batteries and bread and toilet paper, too.

Water in this kind of weather is also a necessity.

Heaters and furnaces dry out the air. So make sure there is safe water available, that goes for humans and animals, too.

Be a friend to your pets, too. If you are able, shovel out a nice area for them to do their business. In this kind of situation, outside is always better.

This storm is supposed to arrive in earnest early Saturday. That’s good news for some as offices and a lot of other businesses will be closed. But a lot of folks will be forced to venture out into the maelstrom.

Plow drivers with townships, villages, cities, counties and the state will be out and about, doing their best to keep roads safe and passable. If you see them out and about, be kind. Don’t make their difficult jobs any harder with careless driving. If you’re on a snow street — I think those are still a thing — move your vehicle.

There also will be private plowers out, as well as landscapers helping to clear driveways and parking lots. It’s their job. Let them do it. And be patient. If you can, offer them some coffee or hot chocolate or something warm to eat.

The same goes for police officers, sheriff’s deputies, troopers and firefighters and EMTs. If they’re out and about, they have a job to do. Give them the space to do it.

And then there are the mail carriers.

They also will be trudging along in these rotten conditions, as they are in all types of weather. The going might be a little slower than usual. Again, patience is the key. If you see a mail carrier, offer them a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or water, and perhaps a place to warm up for a few minutes.

It’s not difficult to be careful and thoughtful and polite and patient.

Just be a good neighbor.

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Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email him at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com