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How This Veteran’s Daily Walk Reveals the Strength of His Neighborhood

Harvey Djerf never could have guessed the impact of his choice to live in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Harvey Djerf has been walking around his neighborhood in Plymouth, Minnesota since 1951. As Djerf hit his nineties, his neighbors noticed he was starting to slow down. They decided to do something about it. One by one, the people on his walking route started to put chairs out at the end of their driveways. For years it was three chairs, and then there were more. In 2017, Djerf’s daily walk included stops at the nine chairs put out especially for him. Of course, each stop came with a neighbor visit (and sometimes some cookies).

Djerf’s row of chairs in Plymouth is a visible sign—small but potent—of the strength of the neighborhood and the relationships that built it. Djerf says, “As you get older, you value human contact more than you did before. It gives me a kind of a warm feeling to know my neighbors are so concerned.”