Ray Aldrich will turn 78 in February, but every summer he still enjoys hopping onto his riding mower and cutting the nearly two-acre property he lives on in Genoa.
Over the summer, Aldrich noticed that there was one mower he wasn’t using very often.
“I had three of them and I bought another one, newer than what I had,” he said. “This particular one was a 2007 and only had 130 hours on it. I didn’t use it that much, just in the fall to mulch leaves.”
Aldrich said he overheard members of Genoa American Legion Post 324 talking about mowers back in October, so he decided his 2007 Toro needed a new home. Aldrich, who is not a veteran, donated the mower to Post 324.
“I heard them talking one morning and I approached them and told them if they need a lawnmower, I would give them one,” Aldrich said. “Tom (Chalfin) thanked me and was really happy about it. I said, ‘I’d like to see it taken care of like I took care of it, and I hope you have a place to put it.’ He said, ‘I’ll make sure that happens.’”
Chalfin, who has been vice commander of Post 324 for two years, said he was “kind of floored” when Aldrich approached him about the mower.
“It was nothing that I or anyone else expected,” Chalfin said. “One morning he said, ‘Tom, I want to talk to you. I have a mower if you guys want to have it.’ I said, ‘yeah, we’ll take it.’ This guy did this for us, and you have to say thank you in a big way. He just gave it to us; it was just a generous thing to do. Even though he’s not a veteran, he’s probably as good a patriot as you’ll ever find.”
Aldrich said he bought the mower five years ago off “a neighbor lady who didn’t like it.”
“She said, ‘I’ll take $1,000 for it,’ and that’s what I gave her,” Aldrich said. “It was brand new. It only had seven hours on it when I bought it.”
Chalfin said the mower will be used a few times a month at the 170-member Post, which covers about four city lots. He added that the mower is at the home of one of the Post members for now, but Post 324 is in the process of building a utility shed to store it in.
Post 324 presented Aldrich with a plaque on Dec. 8, thanking him for his generous donation.
“I thought that was pretty nice,” Aldrich said. “I gave the plaque to them, and a picture, and they’re going to hang it on the wall at the American Legion. If somebody can use that mower, like the armed services or the American Legion, that’s a good cause. If I can give them a shot in the arm, that’s all I care about.”