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People Taking Action: Local couple surprised with award for their 'LOVE' shrub!

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Posted at 5:55 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 17:55:28-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - It generates horn honks, smiles and people stopping to take pictures. At the heart of it is a labor of love —that is, a heart-shaped shrub that has the letters "LOVE" cut out of the bush.

You can find this along a stretch of W. Norfolk Road in the Churchland section of Portsmouth.

It's the creation of Douglas Thompson. He loves the response from drivers riding by.

"They give me a lot of encouragement, you know, when they come by. They'll stop, [give a] thumbs up, or they'll stop in the road, tell me how much they love the sign."

His wife, Bonnie, was initially surprised at the response.

"I ... was little shocked, but then after a while I was - that's OK; that's who we are. That's what we say we represent - is love - so that's what we want to show everybody," she said.

Douglas realizes it's a needed message.

"I'd like to see the community come together because we have so many hard times, so many bad things happening in neighborhoods, in this city, in the whole state, around the world. So, hopefully this one gesture will kinda bring somebody together," he explained.

Their LOVE shrub has been in their for about seven years. They say it took about six months for it to grow out, and then from start to finish with all the trimming and shaping, it took about a year to complete.

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There's some minor maintenance needed, but they believe it's worth it.

What does Douglas hope people driving by will take away with them?

"Oh, togetherness. I mean, I think they're taking away what I'd like for them to take away - you know, togetherness and love."

For those reasons, News 3 presented Douglas and Bonnie with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

Douglas was stunned.

"Whaaaaat?!?! Oh, gosh! That is unbelievable!"

Related: Portsmouth high school senior says a good Samaritan saved his life after hit and run crash

The Thompsons called our putting them in a spotlight a blessing, but that's what their bush has been doing for years.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.