Robert Upshaw, a disabled Navy veteran who is confined to a motorized wheelchair, couldn’t put it off any longer: his yard was out of control and needed to be mowed.
"I hadn't mowed it in a while; it was mess," Upshaw, who lost both legs because of medical conditions after he’d finished serving, recalled to Longview News-Journal. "So, I pulled my mower out, and I was going to try to see what I could do. And the next thing I know, a police car pulls up, two policemen get out and come grab my mower and start cutting my grass."
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Photos taken by a neighbor of Officers Ron Duncan and Michael Preston of Longview Police Department mowing the disabled man’s lawn have since gone viral, racking up thousands of likes and hundreds of shares on Facebook alone.
Duncan, who has been in law enforcement 27 years, patrols Upshaw's neighborhood in Longview, a small city in the northeast corner of Texas. He told Longview News-Journal that he saw Upshaw struggling to mow and simply decided to offer help.
"It was a community policing opportunity," Duncan said. "We look for that type of stuff... because when you meet people in your beat and you build that relationship, you're able to work with people, and they will talk with you."
Preston was commissioned just a few months ago, and Duncan explained that he’s been teaching him the importance of building relationships with the community. "The spotlight might be on us now, but just about every officer in this department has bought somebody groceries or given somebody a ride when it's hot," he added.
After the shock wore off, Upshaw happily accepted the help. "I was shocked—that hadn't happened before," he told Longview News-Journal. "But I got to talk with them for a while. ... They seem like real good people."
Real good people, indeed. Thank you, officers!