Local veteran goes above and beyond with Florence donations


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — It all started with a Facebook post from the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, a call to action for people to help our neighboring states out in the wake of Hurricane Florence. 

The post hit close to home for Newport News resident Ben Landrum.

“I remember because my sister went through Harvey last year and she had a hard time herself and her family she had a lot of help from people donating things, and in fact she still isn’t back in her home yet,” said Landrum.

Inspired by the post, this wheelchair-bound veteran enlisted the help of his friend David and headed to Walmart to grab a few things to take to the donation drop-off location, but he walked out with a whole lot more.

“The carts multiplied, they were like rabbits,” joked Landrum.

Nearly 15 full grocery carts later, they were ready to go.

“We were going through the checkout and David said this isn’t going to get in your van and my truck. I said we’re going to need help,” he said.

That’s when he made a call to 911 for his emergency.

“He asked us if we had any equipment or a van to come down and help him, so we sent two of our people down,” said Sargent Eric Hart with the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office

However, that wasn’t enough.

Five deputies and a cargo van filled with items later, everything had finally made it to the Arby’s drop-off location, ready to be taken to those who need it most.

“We’re like oh boy it took us a good 15 to 20 minutes to unload our van,” added Hart.

Arby’s owner Patricia Settimo says she was at a loss for words when she found out nearly $2,000 in items had been dropped off, money Landrum had saved from his disability checks.

“I got here and I was overwhelmed. I cried quite a bit coming here because it is overwhelming,” Settimo said holding back tears.

But Landrum says he doesn’t want this to be about him

“It’s about Christ. And showing God’s goodness and grace to others that are in need,” he explained. 

York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office officials are hoping to give back to Landrum. 

They’re asking for help in getting him a new wheelchair since they noticed his was worn out. 

If anyone out there can help with that please contact them. 

The Arby’s located at Route 17 and Fort Eustis Blvd. is collecting needed items to North Carolina.

Collection times are 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. through Sunday.

Baysden Computers will deliver the items.

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