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Chicago Weather Alert: Police Help Clear Snow From Outside Seniors' Homes In Merrionette Park

MERRIONETTE PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- Several inches of snow piled up on the Southwest Side and in nearby suburbs during the winter storm Wednesday – and in at least one community, police stepped in to help neighbors clear the way.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, it was a constant cleanup for resident of communities such as Merrionette Park and Oak Lawn – which got 11 inches of snow. Workers were still busy clearing the snow at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue at the south end of Oak Lawn – where snow was piled up in what amounted to a cliff.

In Merrionette Park, a quick glance down any street was proof of the power of the winter storm. Ray Hicks was ready to shovel, but doing it physically was a different story.

"I'm very overwhelmed," Hicks said. "I was going out there with my walker and a shovel - just determined, so to speak, to do some shoveling. The next thing I know, cars were coming from everywhere."

Inside those cars were members of the village's police force.

"Officer all the time, doing what I can the rest of the time," said Merrionette Park police Officer Tim Gottardo.

Armed with shovels and blowers, the fine men and women including the police department – including police Chief John Palcu – cleared Mr. Hicks' doorstep and sidewalk.

"I could not believe what I saw before me when all the officers came in," he said.

And this is not a one-time thing. The Merrionette Park Police Department started removing snow for seniors during the pandemic.

"We have a running list of people in our neighborhood that need help, and our police department CSO's and residents volunteer to help," Chief Palcu said.

While helping out, the officers get a workout – and work on building relationships in the snow.

"Community policing – so it's not where we're out against the people," Officer Gottardo said. "We're here for the people - and everything makes it that much easier when you're on the street and if you have positive interaction with somebody."

And if you think it doesn't make a difference, ask Mr. Hicks.

"It re-confirmed my faith there's so much good out here," he said.

The snow on the ground in those near southwest suburbs Wednesday night was very light and fluffy – such that it could blow back into the streets and on sidewalks. Caution remains advised.

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