Her twelve favorites now make up a 2022 calendar called Good Guys.
“I focused on men because the news has been full of negative role models, and I believe having positive role models is essential,” she told GNN.
She photographed the twelve men in their natural environments and interviewed them, being sure to tell their stories in a way that conveyed their motivation for bringing kindness and goodwill into the world.
“These men, from diverse backgrounds, have touched many lives in small, often unnoticed, ways with compassion that made me smile—and just as often brought me to tears.”
Mr. September (Severo Lara) was a single dad with two young girls when he has elected Mayor of the town of Ojai, California, where Banfield lives. A humble man, he often rode his bike to events when others arrive in expensive cars.
Although serving the village and several organizations, he always put the needs of his family first—even halting his campaigning the moment his young daughter tugged on his shirt to tell him she was tired and wanted to go home.
Banfield recalls, “Years ago, when I was still performing, I needed to transport chairs late at night from the theater to a storage unit. Severo was the one who showed up in the rain, after he had worked all day, to help load, transport and unload the chairs.”
Mr. November (Ken Clench) first showed up on Banfield’s radar when he posted on a Facebook Community page offering free work to those in need. A month later, she arrived to a party, juggling food dishes, a gift, and a jacket in the driveway, when Ken swooped in, took the load from her arms and introduced himself with a smile.
“I asked about his donations of time and energy to the community and he said, ‘I’ve been going through a rough time, and keeping busy on my days off is the best medicine.’ A woodworker, Ken loves helping others. He built our little free library, and does other jobs in exchange for baked goods, dinner or conversation.”
A creative soul, when Ken joined Banfield’s Storytelling Class three years ago, he was nervous and full of fears and self-doubt, but his bravery, determination and willingness eclipsed all of that. In eight short weeks he was telling personal stories with confidence—and original music.
Mr. March (Snow Talifero) showed his generosity of spirit in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire, which nearly engulfed Ojai on its way to becoming the state’s largest-ever wildfire in 2017. The firefighter announced on the local community bulletin board that he would cut down dead trees for free, as a way to keep people safe.
Banfield said, “I thought about the need to get rid of that dead tree, but I’m a person with two afflictions: one the delusion that I am still capable of cutting down a tree at my advanced age, and two that I should do everything myself. So it was with trepidation and a little shame that I contacted Snow and asked for his service. He arrived the very next day, with his entire family in tow. They were going out to dinner, and in no time at all, he had cut the tree and readied it for removal.”
“It’s those little things that matter—those things that are easy for others, and almost impossible for me. I never forget a kindness, and value those who offer it with such grace and freedom.”
On the last page of the wall calendar, which Banfield is offering for sale, she invites readers to reflect on the Good Guys in their own lives, as a way to be grateful for the year ending in December, 2021.