Neighborliness transcends town borders

11 May
Julia Meyers and Sophia Elias ready to work.

Last Saturday May 8 was the Terry Rothfuss Memorial Good Neighbor Day in Penfield. This annual event, organized by Penfield Recreation, gathers volunteers to help Penfield seniors, veterans and those who are disabled do light yard work and spring cleaning.

The event honors the memory of Terry Rothfuss, a farmer in east Penfield who was always ready and willing to help anyone at any time. After he passed away in 2014, his friends and family wanted to carry on Terry’s legacy of friendship by continuing to help their community and inspire others to do the same.

The annual event has grown every year, and I was pleased to find out recently that its influence has even spread beyond Penfield’s borders, as neighborliness should.

Webster resident Linda Meyers read about Good Neighbor Day when I posted a blog about it in early April. That same day, Linda messaged me to tell me how much she loved the idea and was going to sign up with her daughter Julia.

I was so happy to hear her say that. I’ve written about Good Neighbor Day several times in my blog and when I was writing my column for the D&C. Never did I even consider that anyone outside of Penfield would want to take part. But of course, the event is all about neighborliness and community. And when it comes to both those things, town borders mean nothing.

When she first read about the event, Linda wrote, “I was super excited because I love yard work and weeding.” She even recruited her neighbors Chris Elias, Kim Mead and their daughter Sophia to join them.

(We) went to the opening at Rothfuss Farm on Salt Road and it was awesome to see all of the volunteers and meet Sabrina (Renner) the coordinator. We got Good Neighbor T-shirts, donuts and bags for our day and it was wonderful hearing more about Terry Rothfuss from his daughter Molly.

We were assigned to a lady’s home and raked a ton of pine needles and did some weeding in a few of her back gardens. She was incredibly appreciative and even had water bottles, bagged apples and cookies as treats for us.

After all the work was done, participants were invited to Rothfuss Park for some post-event activities sponsored by Browncroft Community Church, including food trucks, mini-golf, a pitching inflatable and other games.

“Overall we had a great experience,” Linda said. “My daughter says she wants to go back to the same lady’s house next year!”


So, this is an awesome story on so many fronts.

First, we’re talking neighbors helping neighbors, just for the fun of it. Second, it’s so heartening to see kids get involved. What a great way to help them learn about compassion and giving to others. (And a little hard work never hurts, either.) And seeing the even expand beyond the Penfield borders just warms my heart and gives me renewed confidence that maybe we can all work together and keep this world running for a long time.

Finally, on a personal note, I’d love to see this event come to Webster. There are certainly residents in our town who could use this kind of help. It just so happens that our current Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Chris Bilow, was the former director at the Penfield Rec, and oversaw Good Neighbor Day for years.

So what do you say, Chris? Can we make this happen?

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