Young first responder from Chesterfield is always putting others first

Heroes PJ Morrissey4.jpg
Posted at 12:37 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 18:23:25-05

CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- As far back as he can remember, P.J. Morrissey has always been putting others first.

“It is definitely my driving force and motivation in life,” said P.J. “These people, like I said, are your second family. It has made me a better person. I’ve seen people from all walks of life.”

Two years ago he started volunteering and working at three rescue squads. P.J. was just 16. “I love being an EMT. It is one of my favorite things to do,” he said.

The freshman at William and Mary University learned the value of helping people at home.

“Emily was born four years before me, but in most senses I feel like I am a bigger brother to her,” said P.J.

his older sister Emily lives with cerebral palsy.

“I can’t even put it into words. I can’t even think about all that she has done for me,” said P.J.

Every year the siblings team up to compete in the Special Olympics.

P.J. volunteers for the organization as well. “It is very much a privilege being able to experience that,” he said.

The Monacan High School graduate towers over his big sister. But he still looks up to her.

“I like to see people wearing them on their wrist. It makes me happy,” said Emily.

Making sure she finds purpose in life P.J. founded Emily’s Bracelets.

“She has been doing that ever since to help strengthen her fine motor skills. She loves doing it,” said P.J.

Heroes PJ Morrissey2.jpg

With Emily at the helm, she creates colorful keepsakes.

“It has been crazy. I don’t think any of us expected it to be as successful as it has been,” said P.J.

“I would tell you he is all heart. His heart motivates him on a daily basis,” said their mom, Kristin.

Emily has beaded 11,000 bracelets.

“From here into concentric circles and beyond in our community and beyond is really the difference that makes us incredibly proud,” said their dad, Dan.

P.J.’s generosity knows no bounds. Recently, he turned his attention to Trey Hope -- a young man living with cerebral palsy and autism.

Trey was recently featured in a CBS 6 Problem Solvers investigation. Last summer, Trey suffered broken bones and other injuries allegedly caused by his caretaker aunt.

Heroes PJ Morrissey5 Trey Hope.jpg
Trey Hope

“You think ‘Oh my gosh. What if that happened to Emily.’ Its not something you can even wrap your head around.”

P.J. is determined to show Trey how much he is loved, even by strangers.

“Honestly it feels like it’s the least anyone can do,” said P.J.

P.J. started a greeting card and gift campaign for the 26-year-old. “It really warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes,” P.J. said. “It was great to know this made Trey happy and put a smile on his face again.”

Hundreds of cards and packages are pouring in, giving Trey the boost he needs.

“Yes. Hope to meet him one day. Yes. I want to shake his hand and give him a big hug. For sure,” said P.J.

When it comes to helping others P.J. is a teen whose head and heart are in the right place.

“I would say it is definitely something I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said.

If you would like to send a card to Trey Hope:

Trey Hope c/o Emily’s Bracelets
P.O. Box 5776 Midlothian, VA

To purchase a bracelet from Emily, go

The bracelets cost between $5-$6. Fifty cents from each purchase is donated to the Special Olympics.

If you know of someone I should feature in my “Heroes Among Us” email me at