Celebrating North Bend’s King of Kindness – Walking Burt Mann – on World Kindness Day

In honor of #WorldKindnessDay we thought we’d share the story of North Bend Communications Manager, Jill Green, and her walk with Burt Mann.

Burt Mann is beloved by many North Bend residents and nearly each day – for almost two decades – he’s seen walking the streets of North Bend… AND talking to people he meets. Burt loves to engage and chat with folks along his walk route.

At age 97 he’s had to shorten and slow the pace of those walks, but he hardly ever misses a day. As a result, Burt has been affectionately dubbed “Walking Burt Mann” by the North Bend community. He was even named North Bend’s 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Last week, Jill got to join Burt – whom she met when he was honored at the Citizen of the Year ceremony – on his walk. Jill said despite only having met Burt once, he greeted her with a smile that could light up a room – like a long-time friend would.

How did the second encounter happen you ask? Simple. Jill was recently driving toward the Park Street roundabout construction area and as you guessed it, saw Burt walking. She pulled over to ask how he was navigating the construction zone. He lit up and immediately asked her to join him on his stroll.

Jill commented, “Burt’s life was full of hardships and turmoil from a young age. Despite his struggles, he always has a smile on his face and an uplifting story to share.”

Lately, Burt’s daily walks take him through the new roundabout construction, walking from Park Street to the Post Office and back three times, which he told Jill it wasn’t as easy as in used to be, but that he is managing just fine.

“I tell the workers to work hard and speed things up and they see me coming and call me the straw boss,” Burt said.

He explained with a laugh, “Back in the day, the foreman of a project would walk around with a piece of straw in his mouth, so his crew would call him the straw boss. That’s what they call me now.”

Jill said she spent about 45 minutes with the ‘kind and loving’ Burt Mann, telling him that the roundabout construction is coming close to completion – which delighted him. He shared inspirational stories and words of wisdom. Jill explained that she’s seen many Facebook posts from residents who have gotten to know Burt – about what an inspiration he is – and wanted to get to know him on a personal level as well.

She said, “As I walked back to my car, I watched him pushing his walker toward the construction zone and told him to be safe and go carry out his charge as the straw boss. He smiled and waved as he continued on his stroll along North Bend Way.”

Burt Mann navigating the streets of downtown North Bend.
Jill and Burt on their recent walk.

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  • I work at the NB PO and have had many happy occasions to talk to Burt on his daily walkabouts. Even more impressive is how he gregariously engages his friends and passersby with enthusiasm and thoughtfulness. While the admiration of his character and warmth is well-deserved, we should also admit for a moment that we should try to be more like him. Shine.

  • I use to work grounds at snqulame school dist. Would see and wave to him .talk to him .j
    Kind gentle committed heart.

  • We love you, Burt!
    I miss you and will stop next time you’re walking so we can visit.

  • Living Snoqualmie