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At 94, He Built a Backyard Pool and Opened It Up to the Entire Neighborhood

What would you do if you had the time to do what you wanted, the money to make it happen, and a desire to improve your community? For Keith Davison of Morris, Minnesota, the answer was simple: Build a community swimming pool for the neighborhood’s children.

It’s made his backyard the place to be in the western Minnesota town of 5,000 people, and it’s made Davison’s days a lot brighter—he gets to hear the laughter of children and the gratitude of parents who now have a place to take their kids swimming.

None of which has surprised Davison. “I knew they’d come,” he told a local Minnesota TV station.

The Perfect Match

Minnesota might be known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but it’s not exactly the Land of 10,000 Swimming Pools. With winters bordering on unbearably cold every year, pools are not common in Minnesota. The town of Morris didn’t even have a community pool before Davison started to build.

Davison had a different problem: He wanted company. The 94-year-old retired judge had spent the past year alone after losing his wife of 66 years to cancer at the age of 90. After spending day after day in a quiet home, he decided that silence was no way to live or honor her memory.

“I had a fairytale life, and after my wife died, that ended,” Davison told People magazine. “You get used to having a person there to enjoy, and now this doggone place is just so quiet. The pool has been a diversion from that.”

Bringing The Community Together

Davison’s plan to bring his neighbors to his home has played out very well. It’s par for the course for a man that the community describes as an amazing neighbor who loves children.

“It’s about spreading joy and happiness to our neighborhood and these children, because he sees them as the face of the future,” said Jessica Huebner, a 36-year-old mother of three in Morris. “He is just a very humble and kind man,” she told People.

As for Davison, he’s gotten personal use out of the pool as well. He goes swimming when the families have gone home for the day. Far more important is the noise that fills his home, as well as the fact that he’s found a way to live how his wife would have wanted.

“I’m not sitting by myself looking at the walls,” he smiles. “What else would you think of doing where you could have a whole bunch of kids over every afternoon?”

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