10 On Your Side Success: Wheelchair-accessible van donated to shooting victim

10 On Your Side

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — In late December 2020, 10 On Your Side introduced you to the Lewis family.

They were in the early stages of what would become a long road to recovery after their son, Chris Lewis, was shot two times in a domestic dispute.

It was December 26 when the shooting happened on Rochambeau Drive in York County. Authorities were able to catch the person they believe is responsible, but Chris Lewis’ life was changed forever.

One of those bullets was lodged in his spine, paralyzing him from the waist down. Since then, the family has faced continued obstacles helping Chris Lewis navigate his new normal.

His parents, Justina Lewis and her husband, have done the best they can picking up and moving 140-pound Chris Lewis and his 40-pound wheelchair into their sedan.

They would have to take apart the wheelchair down to the seat cushion to make it fit, and then put it all back together once they arrived at their destination.

From doctor’s appointments to other engagements, the family was going through the painful ordeal of moving him from the chair consistently. After eight months of doing the best they could, Chris Lewis’ parents knew they couldn’t continue the uphill battle without a little help.

That’s when they reached out to 10 On Your Side.

Two weeks ago, we sat down with Justina and Chris Lewis to see what they needed. For them, it was an obvious answer.

A wheelchair-accessible van would not only help keep Chris Lewis comfortable but also keep his parents, with health ailments of their own, from having to risk injuring themselves when transporting him.

So, that’s what they asked for.

Within 48 hours, a good citizen from Hampton picked up the phone and made the decision to help the Lewis family. The kind-hearted neighbors on the other end of that call were Linwood Sturgis and his wife Anita.

“I was watching the news at 5 o’clock in the morning,” said Sturgis. “And they were talking about you [Chris] on there and I said ‘Wow this is it.’ It was like God was speaking to me, like this is what you do with this van.”

After seeing Justina Lewis’ plea for help, Sturgis was all gas, no brakes working to get the van to them.

On Wednesday, the families finally met up to pass the keys. It was a moment they say neither will forget and will forever be grateful for.

“It puts my faith back in humanity,” said a tearful Justina Lewis. “We prayed every day and I know God is gonna meet our needs and I just thank you for being obedient and we pray for you and your family because you don’t know how much this means to us.”

More than a decade ago, the Sturgis family was given their daughter’s wheelchair-accessible van by none other than Alicia Keys.

“My wife’s cousin, you know, he always said ‘I know Alicia Keys.’ I just thought he was name-dropping or something like that,” explained Sturgis. “One day on the way to work, he called me and said ‘One moment Alicia wanna speak to you.’ Just sweet as she can be, she said ‘Mr. Sturgis I’d like to bless you and your family. I heard you need a van, so go get the van you want and I’ll take care of it.'”

Fourteen years later, that van has a new home thanks to the generosity of the Sturgis family. A moment both families say was made possible by reaching out to 10 On Your Side.

“I’m so glad I did,” said Justina Lewis. “Thank you all for being there to help out and do what you did because you made it all possible for us.”

Stay with 10 On Your Side for more local news stories.

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