It’s a warm Saturday morning. Your family has recently moved to Monrovia after hearing glowing reports of this hidden gem of a city, nestled against the San Gabriel Mountains. The reminiscent of the Main Streets found in every state and most communities years ago evokes the small town atmosphere you have been seeking.
The doorbell rings. When you answer it, you find standing there two distinguished gentlemen performing, in this day and age, a rather novel errand--they are welcoming you to your new home! It takes a few moments for the surprise to wear off, after which you realize how grateful you are for the thoughtfulness of this simple action.
Say “Hi” to John Watson and Hal Leavens, long time residents of Monrovia who more than eight years ago realized a need and volunteered to fill it. Most Saturdays throughout the year find them knocking at the doors of the latest additions to our community. And they bear a gift--an envelope of brochures and information packets that seems to weigh at least five pounds!
Originally, it was John and his wife Katie serving as co-presidents of the that wished to educate new owners of vintage homes on the importance of maintaining the structure’s original characteristics. When Katie was unable to continue due to work constraints, Hal stepped in to fill the void. To date John and Hal have been the welcoming voice of the community, greeting over 2800 new households to Monrovia. Cost of materials not donated by contributing organizations is borne by MOHPG.
Each household is presented with an envelope inside of which there is an assortment of materials helpful to those new to the city. A booklet from the , notices of upcoming events, brochures from local organizations, a list of helpful phone numbers and websites, a business guide to --it’s all there. And, of course, there is John and Hal, ready to respond to the questions that every new arrival needs answered.
The only sad side to this story is the fact that we find their visits noteworthy when just the opposite should be the case. Welcoming neighbors in the southern part of the United States is relatively commonplace, but not so frequent in this part of the country. No matter. Monrovia is taking care of business as it should, thanks to the efforts of these two volunteers.