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Neighbor gives Varina woman gift of friendship: 'God sent us this young man'

Neighbor gives Varina woman gift of friendship: 'God sent us this young man'
Posted at 4:04 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 21:02:45-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- On a quiet street in Varina, Pearl Lewis and her then-roommate Milton prayed for a great neighbor.

"God sent us this young man," Milton described when Joshua David bought the house next door in 2017.

Milton moved out, but Josh visited the now 77-year-old Pearl daily to check on her, mow her lawn, share a PBR and shoot the breeze.

"It's something to live next door to a person with a heart like this," Pearl said.

Although from different generations, Josh, who is 34 years old, and Pearl developed a fast friendship.

Josh loved hearing Pearl's stories about her 30 years as a social worker helping people in the City of Richmond, her upbringing in Church Hill where she attended Armstrong High School during segregation and her years at VCU getting a college degree.

He felt sad when she mentioned her loneliness.

Pearl is a woman who loves to socialize but she can no longer drive. Outside of Josh, she said the neighbors keep to themselves.

Her son is a truck driver and always on the road. Her loneliness was palpable, especially during the pandemic.

Josh wanted to help his friend but did not know what to do - so he took to Facebook and posted about Pearl.

An old co-worker, Matt August, saw the post and mentioned it to his neighbor, John Ralston. Ralston then told his wife, who happens to be CBS6 Problem Solver Melissa Hipolit.

Hipolit contacted Henrico County to see if there was anything that could be done to help Pearl.

Neighbor gives Varina woman gift of friendship: 'God sent us this young man'

Emily Atkinson, who is an advocate for the aging with the Henrico Fire Department, and Ty Parr, who is the Director of Social Services for Henrico County, immediately jumped in to help and found the YMCA Aging Strong program at the Shady Grove YMCA.

CBS6 will pay for half a year's membership to the program, and Henrico County will pay for the second half of the year.

Atkinson said the GRTC Care Van will provide free transportation for Pearl to go to the YMCA once a week.

Hipolit joined Atkinson, Parr, Josh and Milton at Pearl's house to surprise her with the news.

Pearl cried tears of joy.

"Oh my goodness. Is it my birthday?" she said.

She then hugged her neighbor, and through tears said "thank you." "You're a good friend. I thank you so much for looking after me."

Neighbor gives Varina woman gift of friendship: 'God sent us this young man'

Pearl said she helped thousands of people as a social worker in Richmond and Parr said this surprise was a small token of society's appreciation.

"It pays to be good to people," Pearl said.

Watch for a new CBS 6 Gives surprise each Monday on CBS 6 News at 4 and 6 p.m. Have an idea about who we should surprise next, click here to email our team.

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