People Taking Action: Neighbor helps Army wife while husband is deployed

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April is the month of the military child.  We have a story of an Army wife needing help caring for her military children while her husband, stationed at Fort Eustis, was on deployment. Fortunately, she had a neighbor eager to step in and help out and we surprised her with a NewsChannel 3 People Taking Action award.

Deirdre Graves had no idea she was going to be honored. The person behind the surprise is Nyoka Robinson, an Army wife has come to rely on her neighbor who attends Gethsemane Baptist Church in Newport News and that's where we gathered to surprise her, while she attended a church meeting.

After we entered the conference room, Graves was stunned and at a loss for words when we told her we'd heard some very positive things about her in an email from a grateful Army wife.

Nyoka explained in her email she was having a challenging time while her husband, stationed at Ft. Eustis, was on deployment, especially when she was hospitalized for three days and needed help with her two young daughters.

"Ms. Dee took the girls and offered to care for them free of charge.  She also allowed the girls to Skype their dad and took them to visit me while I was in the hospital,  which made us extremely grateful."

There have been many examples of where Graves took action, just ask Nyoka's 11-year-old daughter Nyasha, "I still remember the day it was early release and mom didn't know about it and I didn't have after-school and Nana said, 'If mom can't get you, I'll come get you myself.'"

Nyoka says due to her work schedule, that happened quite a bit. "I would like for her to really understand how much my husband, children and I truly appreciate her kindness."

So, for all those reasons we presented Graves with a NewsChannel 3 People Taking Action award. Graves says it's just natural to help out her neighbor. "You just give back, you just give back.  They moved into the neighborhood and I fell in love--that was my new family."

Nyoka's husband, Corporal Ronald Robison, who just got back from his nine month deployment last week, is very appreciative, saying it helped him do his job while deployed.  "It meant the world to me --when you're out there you have to stay focused on the mission."

We also gave Graves a People Taking Action pin, plus a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank. Graves' response?

"I'm overwhelmed! My legs are shaking right now! I'm military--retired military as well, and I understand when your spouse is deployed, how hard it is when you have little girls or children in general  and these two right here stole my heart." And now, she's a part of the family!