Devoted to shoveling: Man lends muscle to GFPDRight after a snowstorm in Grand Forks, there’s a good chance you’ll find Evan Baustad shoveling the sidewalk. The 27-year-old doesn’t do it for money. He does it because he enjoys helping others, especially the folks at the police station.
Right after a snowstorm in Grand Forks, there’s a good chance you’ll find Evan Baustad shoveling the sidewalk.
The 27-year-old doesn’t do it for money. He does it because he enjoys helping others, especially the folks at the police station.
“I like these people,” he said Thursday as he stood inside the station warming up after a little shoveling.
A while back, Baustad made it his responsibility to clear the sidewalks around the station, which occupies a city block. The Police Department took notice and honored him in September with a citizen appreciation award.
Baustad said receiving the award made him happy, and it made his family proud.
“He loves to shovel. He just plain does,” said Baustad’s mom, Julie. “We never have a bit of snow on our porch when he’s home.”
Baustad scoops sidewalks not just around the police station but also outside his apartment building a few blocks away. He’ll even sometimes cut paths in front of downtown businesses.
Moving that much snow, Baustad recently wore out a shovel. So his family gave him a new one for Christmas, along with a pair of gloves.
Police Lt. Jim Remer said officers, 911 dispatchers and others look out for Baustad, encouraging him to take breaks indoors. “We want to make sure Evan doesn’t hurt himself or overextend himself,” Remer said.
But the thing is, Baustad never really gets tired. When he’s not shoveling, he’s usually doing something active. He rides his bike around town in the summer and takes part in the Special Olympics. “I like basketball, baseball, football, hockey, UND — all that,” he said.
Baustad, who has Down syndrome, grew up in the Rugby, N.D., area where his family has a farm. He moved to Grand Forks about five years ago. He has his own apartment but receives help from people like Jennifer Wilke, who works for a local nonprofit group.
“If a woman was trying to struggle with her groceries, he would definitely help out,” Wilke said. “His mom and dad taught him respect and morals and all that good stuff.”
Baustad works as a janitor four days a week at Grand Forks Air Force Base, so he usually shovels in the afternoons and evenings.
“There are times when it’s dark out, he’s out there shoveling his little heart out,” said Margaret Baynes, who also assists Baustad.
His mom said he’s been a dedicated volunteer since he was a boy.
“It’s almost like his purpose in life. He always wants to be helping people,” she said.
Reach Ingersoll at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.