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Transportation: Winter calls for good Samaritan awards

When Naperville Jaycees member Beth DeGeeter, left, volunteered to help with the organization's seasonal service project that brings shoveling help to local seniors, it ended up being homework. She helps keep the driveway navigable for her mom, Naperville resident Margo DeGeeter, right.  Submitted
When Naperville Jaycees member Beth DeGeeter, left, volunteered to help with the organization's seasonal service project that brings shoveling help to local seniors, it ended up being homework. She helps keep the driveway navigable for her mom, Naperville resident Margo DeGeeter, right. Submitted

Awards season for movie lovers might be over, but as we delve into mid-March there are accolades to be given out here in Naperville, too.

With grass peaking out from winter’s wrath — no sign of it turning green for St. Patrick’s Day, though ­— we can embrace the realistic hope of warmer temperatures. Before we move forward to yard-work season, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on those who helped me make it through this winter.

Kindness of neighbors

There isn’t an award for kindness at the Oscars, but without the snow-shoveling assistance of my brother-in-law, our neighbor Tony and our neighbor’s son J.J., we surely would have been in a violation of the city ordinance, which requires sidewalks to be kept clear of snow. Out of town during several of the larger snowfalls this past winter, family members who came by to shovel our driveway and sidewalks found that our neighbors had beat them to the task.

Kindness of strangers

The best dramatic/comedy award goes to two guys in a truck for the drama part and to my sister and me for the comedy part.

After one of the last snowfalls of the season (hopefully), my Naperville-resident sister, called me in a panic because her vehicle became stuck in the snow at the edge of her driveway.

You know that snow, the snow the city’s plows push along the edge of driveways. At my own house, sans-snow blower, I still like to shovel until I get to that snow.

The city’s snow removal website clearly states “crews try to avoid putting large piles of snow in front of driveways; however, city snowplows have to push the snow out of the road to allow safe travel.” In other words, the snow has to go somewhere.

Armed with a shovel, I drove over to try to help unstuck my sister’s vehicle. After shoveling snow away from her tires, I attempted to push her car into the street. The car didn’t budge.

We did a little more shoveling, and I did a lot more pushing.

Many “hmms, not sures, and I don’t knows,” were muttered. Still nothing.

Out of the blue, a white flatbed truck came lumbering down the street. Without hesitation, two men now known as sunglass-clad North Face-jacket guy and tan Patagonia-hat guy sprang out of their truck. With relative ease, the duo quickly pushed her van to the street. After accepting our thanks, they were on their way.

City snowplow crews

Somehow when I am sleeping, I can tell it’s snowing even before the snowplows come through. And come through they have. Especially near winter’s end, when even many kids were hoping that schools would not be closed because of any more weather-related issues.

Allison Albrecht, city of Naperville communication specialist, said the city has used almost 20,000 total hours for snow plowing this winter season. She said this number is “definitely higher” than previous years.

“The city has averaged almost 15,000 total hours in each of the previous five winters,” Albrecht said.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting that April and May in Naperville will be warmer and a bit rainier than normal. In anticipation, vegetable seeds already have been planted in snug trays at my house.

Hopefully, in several months, I will have an abundance of vegetables to payback our neighbors and maybe even North Face-jacket guy and tan Patagonia-hat guy — if I can track them down.

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