The record-breaking snowfalls this winter have overwhelmed city and country snow-removal resources.
Although National Guard units and private contractors have been brought in, there is still an incredible amount of snow-clogged secondary roads
Because of the crushing need, hundreds of caring people are helping folks who are unable to shovel their own driveways and sidewalks.
Two such good neighbors are Scott Hartley of Spokane Valley and Mike Calistro of Newman Lake.
Hartley and his wife, Alice, owners of Uniforms and More on Sprague Avenue, moved into their west Spokane Valley home last autumn – a little more than a month before the region’s first snow flurries.
The Hartleys are no strangers to cold weather. They grew up in Ephrata, Wash., and made their home in Colorado Springs, before returning to Washington state.
“We live around a lot of wonderful people,” Hartley, 47, said. “A few of the folks are elderly and I just like going over and doing whatever I can.”
Some of the things he does for Lois and Adam Karnes include shoveling a path to their front door and hand-delivering their mail.
“My husband doesn’t walk very far,” Lois Karnes, 80, said, “and I’ve had three strokes and kind of stagger a little.
“Maybe Scott is taking pity on us because we are old,” she said, “but he does the same for the other people, too. He is truly a blessing for all of us on the street.”
Each snowy morning Hartley rolls out of bed around 5 a.m., fires up his Yamaha four-wheeler equipped with a 48-inch snowplow blade and heads out.
“I’ve moved lots and lots of snow around lately,” Hartley said. “It seems the city is busy with the main streets so I’ve been plowing the whole block.”
Hartley starts with the sidewalks and driveways. He then clears the middle of the street and high piles of snow left by the city trucks at each end of the block.
The process can take hours because of the relatively small blade on Hartley’s ATV.
“Sometimes when I get back from the shop in the evening,” he said, “I hop back into the rig, head out and start plowing again.”
“He has been super good to us,” Karnes said. “He’s such a big-hearted guy.”
And, so, it seems, is Mike Calistro of Newman Lake.
For six years, Jim and Connie Farone have lived on the same dirt road as the Calistro family.
“Every time that snowplow comes out and leaves that big berm,” Jim Farone, 65, said, “Mike rides out on his tractor and plows everyone out of their driveways.”
But snow removal isn’t the only good deed Calistro does for his neighbors.
“Any time you need anything done, or help with anything, you just ask Mike and he is Johnny on the spot, night or day,” Farone said. “It’s not just with me, but with all the other people out here.
“He and his wife, Betty, are just phenomenal people,” he said. “They are some of the best neighbors anyone could ever have.”
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