COMMUNITY GEMS: Riverside man performs neighborly acts

Daniel Todd mows lawns, clears snow for Riverside neighbors

Growing up on a farm in Iowa, Daniel Todd learned an important lesson from his father.

“Treat people well, and they’ll treat you well,” Todd said.

That is how Todd has chosen to act toward his neighbors in Riverside, where he has lived for more than 30 years.

In the summer, he spends hours every week mowing not only his own lawn, but those of three neighbors. In the winter, he can be seen with his snowblower, clearing driveways and sidewalks.

“I do it just to help other people who seem like they could use the help,” said Todd, 71.

Todd was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by his long-time neighbors, Fred and Delores Dancy.

Delores Dancy said that she has been in the neighborhood longer than anyone else – almost 50 years. The Dancys live on the opposite end of the block from Todd, and he has become a friend.

In addition to the mowing and snow removal, Todd also is known to feed the visiting stray cats.

“You couldn’t ask for a better neighbor,” said Delores Dancy, who added that Todd’s wife, Cindy, also helps with neighborhood yardwork.

What’s more, Todd won’t accept any compensation from the neighbors he assists.

“If anybody tries to pay him, he will not take a dime for nothing,” Dancy said.

That’s true. Todd said he has handed the money right back to anyone who tries to pay him.

“I’m able to do it, and that’s why I do it,” he said.

Todd joined the U.S. Air Force in 1971 and became an aircraft mechanic. His service eventually brought him to Dayton. When he left the military in 1992, he joined what is now the Riverside Fire Department. He was medically discharged in 2010 after injuring his knees in a fire.

Carrol Rieder called the Todds the “best neighbors in the world.” Without her ever having asked, they regularly visited her home to help take care of her husband for more than two months before he passed away several years ago. And since then, Daniel Todd has mowed her yard and assisted her in other ways, too.

“I don’t know what I would have done without him,” she said.

Reider, who has lived on her street since 1971, said Todd helps however he can. In addition to caring for her lawn and snow, he completes tasks that haven’t even yet crossed her mind, such as replacing burned out lightbulbs outdoors that he has noticed.

Todd is well-known among the neighborhood and Reider’s friends and acquaintances for the help he provides. What’s more, the Todds are considered family by Reider’s own family and are included in their get-togethers.

“There’s not many like him around,” Rieder said.

Todd has been mowing the lawns for about three years, but it may be coming to an end soon. One neighbor has spread the word that this should be his last year, he said.

Todd certainly doesn’t help for the recognition.

“I’m just doing it to be neighborly,” he said.

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