FORT BENTON — As Linda Martin walks through her yard and described how it looked less than two weeks earlier, she was amazed at the transformation: "Totally odd. Odd (but) awesome. It is just so fantastic."
Pictures posted to the Fort Benton Police Department's Facebook page show how overgrown the yard was and what it looks like after being cleaned up.
"My husband passed away in 2013. I had been trying to keep up with it just eventually got too much for me," said Martin.
On July 1st, a group of volunteers, including Fort Benton's police chief and police officer Sgt. Erica Stanley, spent several hours cleaning up the yard.
"I think, initially, it was motivated by the need," Stanley said.
Stanley said upon realizing that Martin needed help, the police chief contacted Martin, arranged a time for the cleanup, and then asked the community to pitch in.
Stanley didn't hesitate to volunteer.
"Because I see the need, you know? Obviously, my job is to protect and serve the community and there's not really a standard of what qualifies as service. So seeing the need there is what I considered, I guess, qualifying for service," Stanley responded when asked why she volunteered.
"It gave me a sense of neighborly-ness like they used to be. Back in the old days people, neighbors, helped each other out all the time," said Martin.
There is still some work to be done, but plans are already being made to take care of it.
"When a community needs something, the city of Fort Benton will show up in full force," Stanley said.
A lawnmower and weedeater were also donated to help Martin maintain her yard.
The police department was looking for another resident to help in August. Anyone who has a suggestion is asked to contact the police department at 406-622-3332.
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