I had an experience this weekend that I think bears repeating. It is a great example of something that I think is common in St. Johns.
In the shop at my home, there is a 1981 Isuzu pup, diesel pickup with a flatbed that is up on jacks. The half shaft on the passenger side is shot. When I started the project, I had no idea that finding a replacement part would be impossible. I scoured the internet for three days, and found nothing. My only option was to have the part rebuilt. At the time I wasn’t even sure it could be rebuilt…
Here is where the St. Johns connection enters the story. Lon Dimbatt, a St.Johns native, took the part and successfully had it rebuilt. Lon has a shop in the valley. On Saturday, Lon hand delivered the repaired half shaft to my home here in town. When I tried to pay Lon for the trip, he wouldn’t accept payment. I’d like to think that this incredible service was because Lon has some special regard for me and my family. I am sure though, that Lon would provide that kind of service to anyone in town. That’s just how he is. I am grateful for his kindness!
There is a loyalty forged in this town that I haven’t recognized anywhere else. I’m not sure where this comes from, but I believe that it is because our town emphasizes being good neighbors. That mentality has existed since the very first people settled here, and is now in the DNA of those who live and were raised here! We seem to be sincerely interested in our neighbors, and that translates to serving them, whether on their farms and ranches, or in their homes and businesses. Service spawns loyalty, and a sincere desire to help our neighbors. Certainly we serve during the mundane day to day needs, and especially when there is a serious need!
Because of the relationships that are born out of serving each other here in St. Johns, people are always quick to point out their connections to our town! Have you ever gone anywhere and not met someone who knows someone from St. Johns? Yesterday, in a talk given during the dedication of the Gilbert LDS temple, Tad R. Callister, a General Authority in the LDS church (not from Arizona) referenced his Mother in Law, stating that she was from St. Johns, Arizona. On the surface that and other references to our town might seem ironic. I don’t think they are. I think that in a community like ours where serving our neighbors is second nature, St. Johns will always be viewed by those inside and out as a very special community with very special people!
By Jeff Raban
By Jeff Raban