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Meet the lawncare angels

Life has dealt the Margie Caneff family of Hastings a number of big challenges lately. Three-plus years ago, Margie's husband Marty was diagnosed with cancer, and on Valentine's Day this year, he died from the illness.

When his diagnosis came in, Margie was left with all kinds of hurdles to overcome. Among those hurdles? Lawn work.

To the rescue came several of her friends and neighbors.

Immediately following the diagnosis, her neighbors Brian Radke and his son Matthew began cutting her grass on a weekly basis. Usually, her father-in-law Ron Caneff comes by to help mow, but "usually it's too late," Margie said. "It's already been done (by the Radkes)."

That act was amazing in and of itself to the Caneffs. But that wasn't all the neighbors had in mind.

Once a year, the Caneffs would travel to a cabin in Michigan for a summer getaway. When they came back that first year after the diagnosis, they couldn't believe their eyes when they got home. Trees and shrubs were trimmed. Weeds were gone and the garage was cleaned out. It looked like a professional landscape service had swooped in over the weekend -- but it was those friends and neighbors again.

"We came back, and all this stuff was done," Margie said. "It's become their tradition to get together and help us out."

This Saturday morning, that tradition continued. About 10 people arrived sporting their Live United T-shirts and got to work. Following the lawn work, they all went out for breakfast.

"It's unbelievable," Caneff said. "I couldn't do it all myself. It's unbelievable that they continue to help me. With so many bad things happening in this world, there's still good. We live in an amazing community."

Chad Richardson

Chad Richardson is the news director for RiverTown Multimedia. He was the publisher of four RiverTown publications until 2016, when he was named news director. He was previously general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He worked at the Hastings Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.

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