07 Oct Here’s the scoop: Great Falls neighborhood wins national contest
Great Falls neighborhood wins national contest
SYDNE GEORGE PHOTO
By SYDNE GEORGE For the Tribune
Chuck Olson calls his westside neighborhood “the best-kept secret in Great Falls.”
Ann Whittlesey calls it home.
“It’s not about the house you live in, but the neighbors you have,” Whittlesey said.
Whittlesey recently won the Dreyer’s Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute contest this year after writing an essay about how she and her neighbors help one another. Whittlesey’s essay was one of 1,500 winners selected from more than 28,000 entries from across the country.
Dreyer’s sent her ice cream and fixings for her whole neighborhood, and they celebrated their big win in midSeptember in the Olsons’ backyard.
“I don’t know what she tells them, but it must be something good,” neighbor Beverly Steen said. “She’s a real gogetter.”
Whittlesey actually has won the contest three times since Dreyer’s began awarding neighborhoods ice cream block parties in 2004.
Hazel Goodau, who has lived in her westside house since she was born, said Whittlesey is one of the nicest neighbors she has ever had.
“She often comes over to see if I’m OK,” Goodau said. “She’s a wonderful neighbor.”
Chuck and Paula Olson, who have lived in their house for 33 years, nicknamed Whittlesey the “Angel of the Neighborhood,” and the name seems to have stuck. “People that live around here have a tendency to stay,” Whittlesey explained.
She moved into her house eight years ago and has been helping her neighbors ever since.
“She cleans the walk and mows our lawn,” Steen said. “We don’t ask her, but she just does it. We’ve been in our house for 40 years, just across the alley. We bought it in 1969 after we were married and raised our three children there.”
What comes around goes around.
“I may mow their yards,” Whittlesey said, “but they are always helping me out, too.”
This summer Chuck and his friend DeeJay Robinson helped move a deck onto Whittlesey’s house, and last summer they put a new roof on her house.
Robinson and Olson have been friends since high school, and Robinson said he has been adopted into the neighborhood.
“Everybody helps when a project needs to be worked on,” he said. “Ann’s a sweetheart. She’s a joy to be around.” Whittlesey said people joked after the ice cream block party saying, “Hey, Ann, are we going to do this again next year?”
She assured them she’ll do her best.
Ann Whittlesey, left, and her neighbor Paula Olson