Charlotte rallies for elders as major storm brings out the best

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Man and boy with snowblower

Zach Surdenik

Joe Shetenhelm and his son, Tim, help clear the sidewalks in Charlotte, Michigan on Thursday after the record-breaking storm.

CHARLOTTE, Michigan – Major storms tend to go hand-in-hand with disaster, but one community is coming together this winter to give off a different feel. 

In a week that saw a record-breaking 13.3 inches of snow in the Lansing area, the City of Charlotte, about 20 miles south of Lansing, was filled with people on the streets driving plows and clearing sidewalks with shovels and snowblowers. 

“Out here in the country, we have a good, rugged community that is used to having a lot of the heavier snow and not necessarily having all of the infrastructure to deal with it, and they’re a community that likes to help each other out,” said pastor Dennis Weeks. 

Longtime Charlotte resident Troy Evans is one of those people. Every time there is a lot of snow, there’s Evans with his plow. 

“I try to do the whole sidewalk so that the surrounding people are not walking through snow,” Evans said. 

According to the 2020 U.S. Census data for Charlotte, 15.2% of the population is over the age of 65. Many in the community are working to help people who may not be able to help themselves with all of this heavy snow. 

Evans is glad to see people coming together to help the elderly, “It’s really important to me. They’re in their sixties, they don’t need to be out shoveling snow.”

Andy Hazel has lived in Charlotte for almost 50 years. He can’t remember a time where the community wasn’t working together to help each other. “There was a time that I didn’t have a snowblower and my neighbor had one and they would always (help),” Hazel said. “Now I have a snowblower and I can’t get out there quick enough. Someone had already done it.”

Traditionally, storms in our lives have a negative connotation, but in this town Hazel thinks it brings out the best in people, “It’s times like these, when you get a big storm, people are just more helpful.” 

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