- Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (AP) - Alan Heid, 87, has plowed the same driveway for 46 years. His age can’t stop him from performing his classic chore.

“I can’t quit now, I have to try to keep going. I have days where I don’t want to plow, but I’ve just got to do it anyway,” Heid said.

Heid switched from using a shovel to walk-behind snow blower in 1979, the snowiest winter he can recall. Though he still uses the snow blower, his workflow has changed dramatically. He has to operate the blower in first gear, and first gear alone, because “it moves too fast” in second. As a result, the chore takes much longer than it used to. He doesn’t mind.

“I like to take my time,” he said. “And the fresh air is good for me.”

Even when the snow blower refused to start Friday morning, the former Ingersoll factory employee and Korean War veteran insisted on figuring it out himself.

But Heid isn’t stubborn. He’s just determined.

“I will take help; I just don’t want to until I have to,” he said. Two years ago, Heid experienced back pain, and he had no choice but to accept help from family members.

His grandson, Jason Dull, helped his grandfather out by building a wind-breaking atrium from the house to the shed. He also assisted Heid with cleaning out gutters in the summertime.

“(Alan) still mows weekly in the summertime” Dull said. “It wasn’t too long ago that he was putting a muffler on his car and a roof on his garage.

“Whatever it takes for something to get done, he gets it done.”

Betty Heid, Alan’s wife, accepts her husband’s strong will.

“I try not to worry. I just pray to god, every time he goes out there, that he comes back in,” she said. “He won’t give up.”

Heid will continue to dress in his coveralls, hat and scarf, and brave the frigid temperatures as long as he can because it gives him a sense of accomplishment.

“I can go out and do my snow, and when I come back in I can tell myself that I feel good about something. Plowing makes me feel better. I like to stand back and look at the driveway and know it’s done.”


Source: Rockford Register Star, https://bit.ly/1tZARb4


Information from: Rockford Register Star, https://www.rrstar.com

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