CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Laurie Rawson says her husband Ted was an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, loved his family, and loved his country.
"Vietnam veteran," recalled Laurie. "Passed away of agent orange exposure, COPD."
Ted's death a year ago was heartbreaking for Laurie.
"It's been really tough, you know," she said.
Laurie's also struggles with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She worried she wouldn't have the strength to care for their beloved dog - Bitsy. But Bitsy quickly found a buddy in Joshua. The shy teenager found a canine companion to take on daily walks around the apartment complex. And Laurie found a friend in Joshua's mom Janie, one month after Ted's death.
"An angel to me really. I really believe god brought her to me," said Laurie.
Janie is a wife, mother of three, who's also raising a young niece and works part-time. She regularly lends Laurie a helping hand.
"Janie has been here for me and takes me to all my doctor's appointments and goes to the grocery store for me. She brings my meals down to me every night," Laurie stated.
Laura contacted 12 to help her pay it forward.
"This is something I felt I should do," she said.
Her surprise nearly knocked Janie off her feet.
Laurie Rawson: "Hi Janie, you may be wondering what this is. You're on Channel 12 News."
Janie Collins: "Oh my God, let me sit down."
Sabrina Squire: "How often are you here?"
Janie Collins: "Every day, sometimes 2-3 times a day. I felt for her right after her husband died."
Laurie Rawson: "You're the sweetest person; I don't know how I would have made it through all this without you. So what Channel 12 News is doing is giving you a little treat here, you know I have trouble getting up, so I'll let you come get it, so this is $100, $200 and $300 to help you."
Janie Collins: "You didn't have to do this."
Laurie Rawson: "And I love you."
Janie says she's no angel, just an ordinary person, who never met a stranger.
"So nobody's a stranger, I try to help whoever I can," said Janie. "You totally caught me off guard."
Janie explains that she's grateful to Laurie for reaching out to her son.
"He needed a mentor, somebody that's not - because I'm the parent, he needed someone who's not the parent that can just listen and Laurie's that person to him," said Janie.
These neighbors say their lives are much richer because they make time for each other.
"I'm a firm believer that we all do not meet by accident," said Laurie.
They encourage more neighbors to reach out more often.
"I hope that they will pass it on, I love that," Laurie added.
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