EAST CLEVELAND,Ohio - Brewster Street in East Cleveland's Forest Hills neighborhood was filling quickly with fresh snow on Friday.
A gray minivan with a bailiff sticker on the front fenders unloaded a group of men, armed with snow shovels and wearing neon green vests.
One young-looking shoveler with a black and white knit hat may not have stood out physically from the rest, but his rank did.
William Dawson shoveled with a quick stroke. Much as the mentally quick stroke he uses at his normal day job. Dawson is a judge in East Cleveland.
Dawson, an East Cleveland snow shoveler since a child, felt helping others was just one way to give back to the community in a way most public servants wouldn't bother.
"Once I became judge, I figured I would do everything I could to rebuild the city, and this is just one small step," Dawson said.
Dawson's crew had a recent list of 40 homes owned by seniors and those who need help, who signed up at various locations in East Cleveland's senior and community centers. The list grows daily.
But an actual judge shoveling was shocking to some residents.
"He looks so young, I didn't think he was a judge," East Cleveland resident Eugene Wright laughed. "But, it's a nice thing. I would never thought they would do that. And they are doing a real good job.”
Dawson's kind work was so infectious, many of his bailiff department's co-workers volunteered to join him Friday.
He doesn't reserve that kind of work for just himself and his co-workers. East Cleveland residents who have found themselves serving time after a conviction have also been offered the opportunity to work outside the jail, rather than sit in a cell.
"Some of the guys who come out, they are sentenced," Dawson said. While some shoveled snow, others were sentenced to even more creative forms of punishment. A long distance runner, Dawson had other ideas of pain maybe equaling punishment.
"I had one guy who ran from the police, and I told him since you like running so much, meet my bailiff and myself on a Saturday and you will do a run with us around the city. Trying to get creative a little bit," said Dawson.
Dawson's crews work quickly, but for those interested in helping East Cleveland's snow-bound seniors, his judicial door is always open for anyone who can keep up.
For Judge Dawson's court information officer go to: email@example.com
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Cuyahoga Co. Headlines
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