Neighbors look out for each other

By Sabrina Squire - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Today we're giving $300 to a woman who wants to pass it on to her very nice neighbor. She says he's always looking out for her, especially during a recent burglary attempt. His good deeds, she says, definitely deserve an "Act of Kindness."

It started with a letter...

"She spent time in the hospital and in rehab, but Gene came over here and cut the grass and made sure everything was done," Julie read from her letter to NBC12.

Lucille Bryant had her daughter Julie e-mailed us.

"My mom is 74-years-old. Without Gene she could not have recovered as well as she did," she said.

That's what brought us to her Northside home, where she told us about Gene Woodson, her neighbor of ten and a half years.

"He's just so helpful," said Lucille Bryant.

Lucille says when the leaves and trees in her backyard became too much for her to handle she called Gene, he called a friend.

"They cut four Holly trees down for me and hauled them away. He just does so many different things," she said.

When an accident took out her mailbox, Gene delivered.

"Some truck backed into my mailbox, he got everything, put it back up and wouldn't let me pay him a nickel," Lucille said.

She can rest easier knowing her neighbor's looking after her safety.

"Two months ago, I had a break-in and when I turned the flood lights on he told Annie, that's his wife, he says, Ms Bryant's in trouble, and they were over here and scared the person, he didn't get in. But I'll tell you one thing, it was scary," Lucille recalled.

Lucille says Gene's loss of a limb makes some tasks more challenging, but it doesn't keep him from tackling them.

"Oh yeah, he does more with 1 hand than a lot of people do with two," she said.

While Lucille was talking up her nice neighbor, sure enough…

Gene Woodson: "Hello."
Lucille Bryant: "Hi Gene. How are you? I want you to meet Sabrina."
Gene Woodson: "Hi Sabrina."
Sabrina Squire: "How are you?"
Gene Woodson: "Hey, Sabrina from the news."

Gene just came over to see if his neighbor needed his help today.  Quickly, I try to conceal the cash as I give it to Lucille.

Sabrina Squire: "Actually we came to see you Gene."
Gene Woodson: "Did you really?"
Sabrina Squire: "Yes."
Gene Woodson: "No you didn't."
Sabrina Squire: "Yes we did, you're our Acts of Kindness."

Lucille Bryant: "You know why you're deserving."
Gene Woodson: "Uh, I'm just, please don't do this."
Lucille Bryant: "You know you were over here to help me Gene, when somebody tried to break in my house you know that don't you."
Gene Woodson: "Yes ma'am."
Lucille Bryant: "And I want to give you this."
Gene Woodson: "Oh my goodness."
Lucille Bryant: "$100, $200, $300."
Gene Woodson: "Thank you."
Lucille Bryant: "This is Act of Kindness."
Gene Woodson: "Thank you Mrs. Bryant!"

Gene makes it clear he doesn't do it for recognition. He says he's living his faith.

"We do it because we love the lord, Jesus says if you love me, keep my commandants," Gene stated.

Especially love thy neighbor.

Gene Woodson: "She's a widow, she's an elder and she's in my neighborhood, so definitely."
Sabrina Squire: "Any special plans for that?"
Gene Woodson: "Yes ma'am. Spend it on my family."

Gene says his disability has taken his life in a different direction. He's studying for his ministry.

"I am a licensed minister, maybe one day, if God leads me in that direction, I'll be a pastor," he said.

He tells me his faith is what kept his spirit intact, after the accident that tore his body apart eight years ago.

"I was in the hospital for five weeks and six days. I got caught in the machine at Tyson's, my arm was completely torn off while I was on the job," Gene said. "I'm not going to dwell on how bad or how bad my accident was. That I can still smile and somebody else possibly can see the struggle that I've been through and still carry a smile."

He's smiling today, because of his nice neighbor.

"I'm very surprised. I'm shocked to death, yes indeed," Gene said.

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