Firefighter with other part-time jobs rewarded for helping out neighbor

Firefighter with other part-time jobs rewarded for helping out neighbor

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond firefighter is receiving this week’s Acts of Kindness award not for the way he serves the community on the job, but what happens when he gets home.

Kevin House has been helping out Diane Wenrick after the death of her husband, Donnie, five years ago.

“It was routine surgery at age 50 - just back surgery like everyone,” she said of Donnie, who had complications and died, making Dianne a widow.

After 23 years of marriage, she would have to find a new normal, which also meant learning how to care for their 5-acre property.

“I was all alone to take care of everything in this big house. Mowing the lawn, plowing the snow, the driveway alone is a quarter of a mile long. Fixing the cars, changing the oil, I have a tractor that I don’t even know how to start," Wenrick said.

Shortly after Donnie’s passing, Diane would get a surprise. Her neighbor, House, who’s a full-time Richmond firefighter, with two other part time jobs, came to the rescue.

“I’d just come home and all of a sudden my lawn was cut, everything was weed-wacked; there’s a lot,” said Wenrick.

House said that "when Donnie passed, I knew that no one would be able to take care of it.”

He also gave Diane the confidence to learn a new skill.

“I said I didn’t even know how to mow the lawn, and the first thing he did was teach me how to drive a zero turn without going into the fence,” she said.

For years, whatever Diane needed, Kevin was there.

“I’ve got a propane fireplace and I didn’t know how to start it so he would come over and start it for me,” she said.

And as a firefighter, he also installed new smoke detectors.

House received $300 recently for being NBC12′s Acts of Kindness recipient.

“This is not just me doing stuff, I get enjoyment out of it,” he said. "Try helping somebody, it feels good. And to see them smile! You’re here, so obviously it meant a lot to her.”

He might never know just how much this meant to Dianne.

“There are very few people now a days that do this sort of thing," she said. "They ask nothing in return and they just do everything in their power when they see you need help, and I needed help, and he was right there. There’s no way I would be able to stay here if it wasn’t for him.”

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