A wonderful Christmas gift

Published 9:51 pm Friday, December 23, 2011

There’s something wonderfully and refreshingly old fashioned about what’s been happening in the Pughsville area during the past few months.

As Lorenzo Boone struggles with an illness that derailed progress on the home he has been fixing up for the past 10 years or so, neighbors decided to step in and help. It’s exactly the type of story that we all like to hear at Christmas, and there’s absolutely nothing manufactured about it.

Mr. Boone lives in a decaying old house on Townpoint Road in one of Suffolk’s poorest neighborhoods. But he dreamed of better circumstances, and as time and money permitted during the past 10 years, he took steps to make that dream come true, slowly and methodically improving a house located next to his own with the intention of one day moving from one into the other.

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And then he got sick, needing dialysis three times a week. Progress on the house stopped, as Mr. Boone found himself too sick to continue the work. It looked as if all his hard work might have been in vain.

But that’s when his neighbors stepped in, and suddenly time in Pughsville seemed to turn back 100 years. Pooling their money, resources, knowledge, time, labor and connections, members of the community have worked steadily throughout the summer and autumn to improve the house. Now, they are waiting only on a final inspection and the demolition of Mr. Boone’s old house before he can move in with his wife and daughter. They also hope to build a handicap ramp to the “new” house.

If all goes well, the Boones should be able to move into the new house sometime next week. When they do, it will be thanks to the generosity of a group of neighbors who forgot that in the 21st century folks don’t often know their neighbors, much less break into an actual sweat to help them.

The neighbors probably never expected they would be finishing work on Mr. Boone’s home at this time of year. What a great Christmas gift, though. They could hardly have planned things better.