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Neighbors put out chairs to ease WWII veteran's walks

WWII veteran's daily walks
Neighbors put out chairs for WWII veteran's daily walks 02:18

Inspiration is sometimes found in the most unlikely places. Ninety-five-year-old Harvey Djerf walks nearly a mile around his neighborhood, twice a day, every day. The Minnesota man is getting around with a little help from his friends.

Even though he's not as fast as he used to be, that's just fine for Djerf. The World War II veteran and retired biology teacher has been walking his subdivision for more than 65 years, reports CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers.  

And the neighbors have taken notice. Dotted along his nearly mile-long route is chair, after chair, after chair.
"As I got older, I stop and rest more often and the neighbors have noticed Harvey's stopping and taking his breath so then they've been putting out different chairs and inviting me to sit and take a rest," Djerf said.  

He's a bit of a celebrity in the town of Plymouth, Minnesota, about four miles outside Minneapolis.  


"It's a wonderful experience and it's a social experience and I get to know the neighbors and they get to know me," Djerf said.

At 95, life has a way of slowing down. But for Djerf, his walks and his rests are a chance to keep the pace steady. 

"My wife said years ago I just – I'm antsy. I can't sit still," he recalled.

These days, Djerf is on his own. His wife of 69 years suffered a stroke this past summer and is recovering at an assisted living facility.

It's the walking that keeps Djerf going, and it's the connection with his neighbors that might just motivate them.
"They say when they see Harvey go by twice a day, they figured they should get out and walk themselves," Djerf said.  

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