Every community has one:
The man or woman who is always there to lend a helping hand when something needs to be done.
In the Highland Park community of Saint Paul, Minnesota, that person is Chuck Nehls.
Everyone knows Nehls. He’s a regular fixture around town, weeding, painting, shoveling, picking up trash, and doing his best to keep the neighborhood clean and beautiful.
He looks like any other industrious city employee. Except for one thing:
Nehls doesn’t get a paycheck.
Everything he does for his neighbors is done as a labor of love. He won’t accept any money for his hard work.
Not only does he do what’s necessary to keep things looking neat and tidy, he also pitches in to help keep the area school children safe.
He volunteers his time as a crossing guard, being sure kids get safely across busy streets on their way to and from school.
There were two things that residents knew they’d see when Nehls showed up. First would be his big smile that echoed the feelings in his big heart.
The second thing would be Nehls cat, Ashley, who was usually seen wrapped around Nehls neck, riding on his shoulder.
Ashley was seventeen years old when she started getting sick. The smile on Nehls’s face got a little less bright as she weakened, and eventually she passed away.
Nehls still kept up with all his chores, and he had lots of smiles to give away to the kids he helped cross the street, but everyone knew his heart was broken at the loss of his best friend, Ashley.
He thought about getting a new kitten but he was realistic about the fact that owning a pet is expensive.
While the adoption fees at area shelters were very low, the cost of upkeep can be demanding. He just couldn’t afford it.
That’s when the appreciative citizens sprang into action.
Highland Park resident Martha Wegner set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a new kitten for Nehls.
The money would cover the cost of adoption as well as long-term health care for her.
Amazingly, over the next few weeks, they raised over $2,800!
They adopted an adorable kitty named Heidi to be a companion for Nehls, who was overjoyed with the gesture.
Heidi came to him complete with full adoption papers, vaccinations, food, kitty litter, and treats.
The remainder of the funds went into a special account with Highland Animal Hospital to cover Heidi’s future health care needs.
All that was left to do was for Nehls to love her. And that wasn’t a problem for him at all.
He says that although Heidi can never take Ashley’s place, she is definitely good therapy when it comes to mending his broken heart.
“Heidi is very tender, loving and kind,” and everyone knows they will be the best of friends in no time at all.
The folks of Highland Park expect it won’t be long before Heidi will be hanging out on Nehls’ shoulder around the community just like Ashley was.
And they know that Nehls’ smile will be as big and bright as it ever was.
Source: The Animal Rescue Site