“A Good Neighbor,” Ensign, Sept. 1996, 69
My earliest memory of our next-door neighbor, 82-year-old Bill Croft, is when my daughter asked him if she could climb his fence to take a shortcut to her friend’s house.
“Fences can be painted and fixed,” he said, “but the memories of children climbing them passes by much too quickly. You can climb it as much as you like.”
But Bill went beyond simply giving my daughter permission to climb his fence. The next summer he asked if we would mind if he built a gate in the fence. “You design it, and I’ll build it,” he said. “I’m afraid your little girl might be getting worn-out pants and too many slivers.” Sure enough, a sturdy gate between our yards was soon in place.
Many other acts of kindness by Bill have benefited our family over the years. He has repaired our car, piano bench, bathroom faucet, and camping trailer. He has loaned us tools and shared his grass clippings for compost. A skilled metalworker, he built us a cart for our power tools as well as numerous “Hold to the rod” necklaces for me to hand out at Young Women camps.
Countless other people also benefit from Bill’s cheerful service. He works in the temple three times a week, passes out the program each week in sacrament meeting, and willingly teaches classes whenever he’s needed. He writes letters to missionaries and lifelong friends and offers financial support to good causes. Perhaps Bill is best known, however, for his service when it snows. Driving a small tractor equipped with a plow, he clears not only his own sidewalks and those of his immediate neighbors but also those within an entire two-block area. On snowy weekdays he first clears walkways used by schoolchildren, and on Sundays he clears the way to the meetinghouse first.
Though he is long retired from his work drilling rigs for Mountain Fuel and though his beloved wife has been gone some 20 years, Bill’s life still seems constantly full. “There’s no such thing as work,” he says. “I love everything I do, so it’s not work to me—it’s life. People should love what they do in life.”—Sydnee Price Crockett, Orem, Utah