Dinwiddie man honored for dedicating years of service to community

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 10:14 AM EDT
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DINWIDDIE Co., Va. (WWBT) - As a fan cools her Petersburg home, Vernita Richardson tells the story of an angel.

“I’ve seen him go from black hair to grey hair, walking upright, to now I’ve noticed a limp,” Richardson says.

Richardson fondly remembers the treasured moments she would see that angel, from the back seat of her parents car as a little girl.

She says, “I’ve always prayed for him as a child, asking God to please protect him.”

With an orange plastic bag, a garbage picker, which could arguably be a cane, 66-year-old Petro Flowers walks up and down Route 40 and Route 619 in Dinwiddie County picking up trash.

For 48 years, he’s been doing this without getting a paycheck.

No matter the weather, or time of day.

”No one is asking him to do any of this,” Richardson said.

Evelyn Flowers is Petro’s sister.

”He don’t care if it rains, hot, snow anything, he’s gone and if he’s not here by 8 o’clock, I worry about my brother a whole lot because I love him.”

That worry is something she deals with every day.

”I’ve been trying to get him to stop doing that because I’m afraid he will get hit by all those trucks coming down the Highway, but he always tells me, that’s my job.”

As a little boy, Evelyn says her brother had a seizure, fell down a well, and hit his head, causing permanent damage.

Years later, at age 18, he started picking up trash and never stopped.

NBC 12 couldn’t surprise Petro with our Acts of Kindness by ourselves, so Evelyn came along.

It was time for Vernita Richardson, the little girl from years ago, to show her appreciation face to face.She gave him $300 dollars and a $50 dollar gift card to Mexico Restaurant.

Evelyn was so proud of her brother.

“I love what he’s doing for the community, I love it, and everyone else around here should love it also.”

Tragedy created some difficult circumstance for Petro Flowers and his family, something many of us will encounter in various ways.

But if it’s anything we can learn from a man with the last name Flowers, bloom where you are planted.

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