A Christmas gift in Pughsville

Published 11:28 pm Thursday, December 22, 2011

House: Lorenzo Boone’s old home, above, is in disrepair and he is sick, so the Pughsville community has pitched in to help finish his new house next door so he can move in before extremely cold weather strikes.

Sometime in the next week, Lorenzo Boone and his family will have the new home they’ve been waiting 10 years for.

It likely will be one of the best Christmas gifts he’s ever received.

Boone bought the shell of a home next door to his in Pughsville 10 years ago and set about fixing it up, whenever he had the spare time and money.

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But then Boone became ill, requiring dialysis three times a week. He couldn’t work, so there was no money to fix up the house. Meanwhile, his current home was getting in worse and worse shape.

That’s when some members of the community took over.

Pooling their money, resources, knowledge, time, labor and connections, members of the Pughsville community have worked steadily throughout the summer and autumn to improve the new house. Now, they are waiting only on a final inspection and the demolition of the old house before Boone, his wife and daughter can move in.

“We have a little ways to go,” Wayne White, president of the Pughsville-Suffolk Civic League who has coordinated the project, said on Wednesday. “We’re trying to finish it up and get him in the house before Christmas.”

At this point, White said, they’re shooting for next week. But even so, it will be the perfect Christmas gift, he said.

The finishing touch will be a wheelchair ramp.

“We really need a ramp to be built so he can get up into the house,” White said.

The group has received a lot of support. Many businesses have stepped forth to provide materials, products and labor free or reduced-price. Many community members chipped in money or completed projects they could do.

White was at the home most of the day on Thursday completing the last few projects — installing a vanity in the bathroom and other last-minute items.

“Everybody donated their time and money for the project,” White said.

In addition to the wheelchair ramp, only one more major project is left — demolishing the old house. The city is requiring it to be demolished before they will issue an occupancy permit for the new house because they both have the same address.

Anyone who can help with building a wheelchair ramp, demolishing the old house or donating money for the projects can call White at 334-4624 or mail checks to 4216 Coltrane Ave., Suffolk, VA 23435.

According to a list White provided, these are the people and companies who have donated time, money, materials or expertise to the project:

Pughsville-Chesapeake Civic League Community Projects; Ollie Boone Jr.; Kee’s Construction; Gaines’ Bus Services; Copeland’s Trucking; Melvin Copeland Sr.; Melvin Boone; Echols Contracting Company; HVAC Heating and Air Conditioning; Pastor Leroy Ricks and New Berean Baptist Church; Church of God and Saints of Christ; Pastor and Mrs. Spence Ward Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Johnson and daughter, Lauran Wilson; the Rev. Melvin Copeland Jr.; James Reynolds; Taylor Bus Services; Councilman Leroy Bennett; Mr. and Mrs. Mickey Copeland; Ellsworth Plumbing; Billy Thompson; the Rev. Nathan Foster; Anthony Scales; Leaf Guard Gutters; New Hope Baptist Church of Pughsville; Deacon and Mrs. Friend; Pastor Robert Lee and the Clement Girls from Fairwood Agape Baptist Church in Portsmouth.