Profiles of the Extraordinary – My Neighbor Tom

The low growl of a snowblower: it’s not spectacular. I suppose you could marvel at the way it chews up a snowbank and throws it in an arcing plume across the yard.

But I’m focused on the person behind the snowblower. In particular, my neighbor Tom. After every snow storm he’s out there behind his orange machine clearing piles of snow.

It’s not his driveway that he focuses on, at least not initially. Instead, he clears the driveway of a neighborhood shut-in. He clears another for a neighbor who recently broke his arm. He works through the driveway for a retired couple who are unable to take up the task.

And then he helps with mine. And perhaps a couple other neighbors, too. We’re perfectly able to take care of it ourselves, but Tom insists on helping. And that’s before Tom even tackles his own driveway.

After a winter full of snow storms and hefting snow over non-melting snowbanks, my aching arms are often grateful for the help. I enjoy the exercise of shoveling snow, but I’ll admit that it’s getting old this winter.

So why does Tom do it? I don’t think it’s because he’s a big fan of the snow. In many of our winter conversations, we find ourselves looking forward to the Spring thaw.

No, I think Tom does it for the best of reasons: to be a good neighbor. He looks out for the people on our street. It’s as simple as that.

I think it’s an extraordinary trait too often missing in our society. Tom sets an example for all of us.

Another neighbor and I talked about having a neighborhood barbecue when the weather improves. A get-together to thank Tom for his hard work.

Shhhh. Don’t tell Tom. We want it to be a surprise.

Profiles of the Extraordinary is a category within the This Ordinary Citizen blog.  It features Ordinary Citizens who show us what it means to be Extraordinary.  If you know someone who should be profiled, contact the author.

Leave a comment


  1. Inspiring. Our next door neighbor also has a snowblower and always takes the time to hit our sidewalk because, as he puts it, he can. Having good neighbors is a joy.

    • I think good neighbors increase the value of a house, but not in a manner easily quantified. Good to hear that you’ve got a good one, too!

  2. Loved this post. Wade your posts are getting better and better. I am finding them quite emotionally evocative. This was a great one.


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