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Council Bluffs family wins national contest for being great neighbors

The family's home is the hub of the neighborhood
Posted at 6:49 PM, Sep 23, 2019

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — What do you get when you have a cat, a fluffy white dog, a couple birds and 22 children? Well you get the O'Doniels.

"We have 18 adopted and 4 between us," Robyn O'Doniel said.

The O'Doniels are a special, diverse family. Parents Robyn and Rob always put their children first.

"Oh they're our world. I gave up my job to stay at home because we do take in some children who are special needs," Robyn said.

Along with taking care of the kids, they take care of the whole neighborhood too. Their house is the hub of their entire street.

"We're one of the first to open our pool and one of the last ones to close it. So we'll have people, hey is the pool still open? Sure come on over, I won't be home but go ahead and jump in," Robyn said.

They host a plethora of watch parties. From Husker watch parties to Packer parties. They open their garage doors for anyone to come and join them.

"This is a house full of love and laughter and you always leave here with your heart full and your stomach full," neighbor Deb Franklin said.

Deb Franklin has been living next to the O'Doniel's for years. She's felt taken care of by this extraordinary family since the day she moved in.

"When we first moved in, I remember Robyn bringing us brownies. People just don't do that anymore," Franklin said.

"Sometimes when I know she's had a really long day we'll just send a plate of food over there," Robyn said.

Deb wanted to show her appreciation, so she nominated the family for a national contest - The Great Neighbor Shout-Out.

"I told them I did it after I did it because they're very humble and they would never, ever nominate themselves for something like this," Franklin said.

The social media site Nextdoor teamed up with the CBS Show "The Neighborhood" to find America's greatest neighbors. Out of thousands of applicants, the O'Doniel family were one of the five lucky winners. As their prize they get a block party thrown in their honor this Saturday.

"The O'doniel's are so deserving of this and so much more," Franklin said.