Shovels in hand, a group of "snow angels" is helping to dig out some of the most vulnerable people on Chicago's Southwest Side. Eddie Guillen and his volunteers are focusing on clearing paths for seniors, those with disabilities and families in West Lawn.
"We wanted to lend a hand and help them out during these tough times," said Guillen. "We’re just trying to do our part and make some positive change."
Volunteers say they are up for the challenge, staying hydrated and taking breaks frequently. The crew worked through the night Monday after nearly 20 inches of snow fell.
"I love hard work," said Gilberto Carlin. "We live in a tough neighborhood now. I want to replace the nonsense with the good and productive. This is a good start."
In the last few weeks, Guillen and his crew have responded to dozens of homes, shoveling sidewalks, clearing steps and also digging out cars.
Neighbors say they are extremely grateful.
"Seeing my front way clean, I just can’t believe it. I’m really grateful for that," said Alejandra Avila.
She and her son were snowed in. The pair was stuck inside without groceries and while trying to e-learn.
"I literally could not get out of my door," Avila said.
Guillen also runs the West Lawn Neighborhood Watch Facebook page. He patrols streets to alert neighbors to crime. He and his crew also help to beautify the neighborhood in the summer.
"We’ve cleaned the neighborhood before," said Carlin. "We’ve done other little things. We try to make an impact everyday."
The group hopes to expand into surrounding neighborhoods but needs more volunteers. For more information or to request help, visit the West Lawn Neighborhood Watch Facebook page or email WLNwatch@yahoo.com.