Taking Action


Virginia Beach woman honored for taking action to help elderly neighbors - even before pandemic

Posted at 9:59 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 21:59:10-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A rainy, windy day didn’t stop us from chasing down this week’s award winner. Neighbors in one group of of condos in Virginia Beach met us in the driveway to sing her praises.

Michelle Lee is the person who nominated Carmen Butler.

“She picks up my groceries and leaves them on the stoop for me.”

“She checks on me, whether it's getting groceries or just, 'How are you? Is everyone alright?' She does more for others than she does for herself.”

Carmen buys flowers for another neighbor, Claire, on nearly every holiday.

“She never goes anywhere when she doesn’t call me and ask if I need anything because she knows I’m not leaving the house neither because I’m old. She’s just wonderful; she’s an angel.”

“It's those special little things like a card for one of the neighbors on Mother’s Day - that special card or that cheer-me-up note that she sends. She reaches out to just everyone, not just us.”

And that’s how it’s been for the past 15 years - even before the pandemic kept many of her elderly neighbors shut in.

Related: People Taking Action: Local women crank out masks to keep up with demand amid COVID-19!

I caught up with Carmen as she was getting home from work to surprise her with a News 3 People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

She was surprised and humble.

“They are awesome. I have awesome neighbors.”

I asked how she finds time to help others while working full time and studying to get a master’s degree.

“I felt like God put them in my heart. They’re my neighbors," Carmen told us. "Normally on my off days, I find time to do that just being a little kinder during this time.”

“It's not just the three of us; if you can touch a door, they will know Carmen for the goodness of her heart," said Lee.

“She’s thoughtful. She has a heart as big as her condo, and she is a joy to the community.”

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, email us at takingaction@wtkr.com.

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