Some veterans dedicate their retirement to other kinds of service — whether it be therapy or fighting for animal rights. Others, like 95-year-old Harvey Djerf, prefer the quiet. Neighbors surprised the World War II vet by placing chairs in their yards as pit stops on his daily walk.
“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.”
On occasion, Djerf’s thoughtful neighbors also surprise him with lemonade and cookies. A resident of the Plymouth community for 66 years, Djerf seems to have scored gold with its kind inhabitants.
Because the humble hero dedicates most of his time to his wife in an elderly home, returning to the neighborhood brings him comfort. It may not be Beverly Hills, but I’d say Djerf is living the ideal American Dream.
To a child, an adult may be an authority figure they just can’t win over. Perhaps the generation gap makes them feel misunderstood. Despite this, there are some grown-ups who’ve proven to be completely selfless. Among them is Marc Bell, a millionaire who recently opened his home to 70 orphaned children affected by Hurricane Irma. And, just recently, Earl Melchert, who donated a hefty $7,000 reward to the kidnapping victim he had rescued.
“I could make out her face, and I went, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the gal from Alexandria that’s been gone for 29 days,’” Mr. Melchert said. “It’d been on the news, it’d been online. It went national. It was on posters, in stores, her face, her picture. Right away I recognized her.”
The victim was 15-year-old Jasmine Block, who was abducted by a family friend. For a month, she remained in an abandoned home. Though Melchert received a $7,000 reward for phoning the police, he decided to pay it forward to Block’s family.
“What a retirement present,” he said, “to hand over some money to people that really need it.”
Melchert has since gained popularity on social media. Those gunning for the 65-year-old to run for president may be disappointed. The unlikely hero just retired, and it’s safe to say, rightfully so!
For lack of a better label, exclusive villages aren’t what they seem. In fact, one in the Netherlands exists primarily for transients. Even better — it runs on solar power! As the trend gains traction, Canada has slithered its way into the updraft, inaugurating its first “dementia community.”
“We’ve really designed and tried to build communities where people could be independent and live their own life their way,” [project leader Elroy] Jespersen said… “We thought we should add another piece to that to allow them to stay within, if you will, our ‘family’ of communities.”
The single-story, cottage-style homes will act as humble abodes to 78 residents. If there is one thing The Village isn’t, it’s a nursing home. Inhabitants will be able to shop, grab an Americano, and avail of regular services. Nonetheless, living costs remain a pressing issue.
“People will say that’s a lot of money, and it absolutely is a lot of money,” he said. “It’s about the same amount of money we would get from the government if the government funded us to provide care. That’s what it costs to do what we’re doing.”
Where money gets in the way, hopefully others vie for change.