NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A group of Newport News residents is taking back the community.
They’re re-starting the Minute Men task force to keep kids safe, an initiative originally formed more than 20 years ago.
Us 4 Us is the new group that’s working to get the task force up and running again, and they’re doing it with the help of Lawrence Atkins. He’s the person who started the task force years ago.
“I came home dedicated to wanting to fix the community that I helped destroy,” said David Wilson.
Wilson is the founder of the organization Us 4 Us.
A former prisoner turned community activist, Wilson tells 10 On Your Side he had to take action when a mother recently posted to social media about an alleged incident involving her daughter being followed by a suspicious driver near a school bus stop.
“A lot of people started commenting like ‘I’ve seen that truck, I’ve seen that truck at this bus stop,’” Wilson said. “I just called my friends and told them we got to start going to these bus stops and make sure these kids are alright.”
Wilson and other volunteers have been standing watch near the bus stops for the last two weeks.
During that time, Wilson learned of the Minute Men of the 1990s, founded by Atkins. The Minute Men group formed after a rash of assaults against young people in the area.
On Monday night, Us 4 Us presented Atkins with the “Community Strong” award for his service to Newport News youth.
“When we first started out, we never thought about awards or accolades or whatever,” Atkins said. “We just wanted to do it because we were concerned about the safety of the young people in the community.”
The award presentation was a full-circle moment for Wilson when Atkins officially passed the torch by passing down his Minute Men jacket.
“There’s different things out there that I’m looking forward to working with Mr. Atkins to help me start,” Wilson said.
Us 4 Us group plans to work with Newport News Police and other city leaders to get the Minute Men re-established in the community, and they’re looking for volunteers.
If you’re interested, you can contact email@example.com.