Charles “Chuck” Hjortness, a disabled veteran, has lived in Great Falls since 2002. He has recently been living on his own after his family moved away. Being 80 years old and disabled, it is difficult to take good care of everything all on his own.
One of his neighbors, Janet Hansen, has lived down the road from him for 11 years.
“We live a few houses down the road and when we’d pass, we would see Chuck sitting with his garage door open,” said Hansen. “He always waved at everybody, and I have him in my phone as ‘the waving man’.”
While helping him out at his home with rehoming some of his cats, Hansen noticed his house seemed to be in poor shape and she wanted to find a way to help.
Hansen posted on their Bootlegger Trail community page explaining the situation with the disabled veteran, Chuck Hjortness, and the result was more than she ever expected. About 10 other neighbors, as well as a team from Tree Amigos Tree Services and some people from the volunteer group Tactical Civics, showed up to help clean and fix up Hjortness’ home.
They were focused on cleaning out the house, fixing up the front lawn/garden, trimming trees to clear the walkway, and more.
Hjortness was overwhelmed by the amount of people who showed up to help him and he said he just couldn’t believe it.
“I can’t tell you how much [this] means to me; it’s so good to see people are still willing to help a neighbor,” said Hjortness.
Israel Stringer, an arborist with Tree Amigos Tree Services, was about to go out on another job when he got the call that a disabled veteran was in need.
“[We] were told there’s a disabled vet out here that needs some help, so of course, we put the other job off, went and got the grapple truck and came out to get some work done out here, make sure some people get taken care of. You know, there’s not a lot of people left in the community to do that, so we try to do what we can to help people,” said Stringer.
There is still more work to be done on Hjortness’ home, but there is no doubt that this community will continue to come together to serve him and others in the community.
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