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Helpful neighbor gets a helping hand

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Dec 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-22 19:28:38-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Sylvania Bell has lived in this home on Florence Avenue her entire life. It's been a family home for some time. Lexington Police Officer Ryan Holland met her five years ago and always got a wave driving by on patrol. When he heard her home needed repairs, he knew he wanted to help.

"Her house was just unlivable. Her, she had running water but none of her plumbing was connected, so nothing drained. So, she was basically living in the front of her house,” says Officer Holland.

First, he helped raise $10,000, but a total of $90,000 went into this renovation. In just a few short months, Officer Holland was able to get companies to help repair the roof, install new electric and plumbing, and more to create this essentially brand-new home for Bell. Her friends say she'll help anyone she can, and now it's her turn.

A neighborhood friend, Michelle Davis, says, "She does so much to help others for nothing, and sometimes you need to give back. And she needed this."

At least three generations have lived in Bell's home including her grandmother, her parents, and now she lives there. She says she's looking forward to the memories that she'll make this holiday and many more.

Bell says, "I remember my first Christmas, mama asked me ‘what do you want for Christmas?' you know, I told her, anything y'all wanna give me.”

This Christmas, she'll get to pass on those family stories to her own children, and to their children in this new home.

"I said pray, and I know I didn't have the money to get things fixed up and — but it's better, it's better, it's a special Christmas for me,” says Bell.

Officer Holland says the goal of the non-profit "Restore Hope," which does this in communities across the city, is to bring hope back to communities and he says he believes that hope is contagious.

He says, "I mean, that's what it's about. It's getting out and identifying people that need help and helping them."