Collierville woman receives recognition for helping disabled veteran, encourages others to get to know neighbors

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — A Collierville woman is being recognized with the National Great Neighbor award from the Nextdoor app and Real Simple magazine.

She is just one of six people featured after she helped raise money for a wheelchair bound veteran to receive improvements to his home.

This is group talks and laughs like they're old friends.

It all started about a year ago, with a simple knock on the door.

"I was randomly knocking on doors for special election and volunteering," said Allan Creasy.

Creasy met Lorenzo Rhynes.

As he started talking to Rhynes, Creasy learned a little about the disabled veteran's life and then took to social media.

Friend, Selena Silvestro saw the post.

"When he posted on Facebook that Lorenzo is a great guy and could use some more neighbors, or friends in the neighborhood, and lives alone, my friend, Lori Coulter, and I decided to come by, meet him and say hello," Silvestro, recipient of the National Great Neighbor award, said.

From hello, a chain reaction of help and new friendships began.

"I asked what can we do to help, and you mentioned your dream was to get your house fixed up and get a handicap accessible shower," she said.

Silvestro says she immediately started brainstorming.

She has a group called Little Helpers, and they do monthly service projects with their children.

"I thought, well, let's just have a lemonade stand, so we set up right here on the lawn. We put it on Nextdoor and advertised it. We also put it on Facebook," she said.

Not only did they raise hundreds of dollars to fix Rhynes’ broken garage, Titan Drywall and Wilson Flooring stepped up to remodel his bathroom, making it handicap accessible.

A-Team Roofing also repaired Rhynes’ leaking roof at no charge.

"We've been blessed enough to have a good business, and we want to give back to the community where we live and where we work," Kyle Grasso, with A-Team Roofing, said.

Dustin Wilburn of Wilburn Plumbing also donated new tub features, toilet and sink.

Rhynes says he is grateful for all the help.

"I was mainly struggling alone by myself, you know?" he said. "That's a strong blessing, to meet angel hearted people and all of these new friends of mine, you know?"

His new friends not only made home improvements, but they threw him a surprise 60th birthday celebration. They visit Rhynes often to help with other chores or to just hang out.

Their story is showing how a simple effort of getting to know your neighbor can make a difference.

"I think it’s important to know who is in your neighborhood. If there is someone who lives alone, just reach out and knock on that door, like Allan did. If there is someone that lives alone then take the time to have a five minute conversation," Silvestro said.

Their mission is not done.

The neighbors still want to get Rhynes new flooring, because his current flooring makes it difficult for him to get around in his wheelchair.

They also hope to have another lemonade stand in a few months.

To contact Silvestro you can email- LittleHelpersKindKids@Gmail.com

To get more information or to help out Rhynes you can visit here.