BERRYTON (KSNT) – Being a good neighbor is something many of us take for granted, especially nowadays when many of us get caught up in our busy lives.
For Jerry Thompson, being a good neighbor comes easy.
On nice, sunny or overcast days, the 86-year-old will gladly hop on his riding lawnmower to cut his neighbor’s grass without ever being asked or expecting anything in return.
“I enjoy mowing,” the Berryton man said. “I like to be busy, and if I can help somebody, I want to do it.”
Helping out his neighbors in any way he can is just a few of the simple deeds Thompson enjoys doing to stay connected with those around him.
Even outside of his neighborhood, he’s always giving back. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, Thompson would spend hours each week giving out food and serving meals at the Topeka Rescue Mission and Harvesters.
He also stayed involved by volunteering for every opportunity he could through his local Kiwanis group.
“I’ve seen Jerry offer to help people that didn’t even ask for his help,” neighbor Larry Valentine said. “If he sees somebody struggling he’s going to go ask, ‘do you need my help?'”
Valentine described Thompson as the best neighbor a person could ask for, and he felt it was only fair he receive some recognition for having such a big heart.
That’s what prompted Valentine to nominate Thompson for a Jefferson Award through KSNT.com.
In May of 2021, Thompson was picked to be the monthly winner of the award. He received the prestigious Jefferson Award during a surprise potluck party organized by his neighborhood.
“I never dreamed that anybody even noticed what I did,” Thompson said.
Even though he knows his neighbors are more than happy to return the favor and help him when he needs something, Thompson said he rarely asks for help.
“I’m so proud I won’t ask, but I do enjoy going out and helping them,” he said. “I get a joy out of helping them.”