“A life that I always wanted, but couldn’t have”: Residents rally behind Roanoke man in time for the holidays

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Several people are coming together ahead of the holiday season to support a Roanoke man who often spends his time alone.

Sixty-nine-year-old Michael Hairfield has lived in Roanoke since he was eight. Now, with both parents deceased and an estranged relationship with his sister, he spends most of his days by himself.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” said Hairfield.

However, one day changed his life for the better.

On Oct. 8, Hairfield went to the Dollar Tree on Franklin Road. When he got out of the car, he started to feel lightheaded. Before he reached the store’s entrance, he passed out.

Danielle Willis was there and sprang into action.

“I yelled for the manager. I said bring a chair and some chocolate. I just assumed that it might be diabetes,” said Willis.

And her assumption was right. Hairfield has Type 2 diabetes, although he says he often doesn’t feel lightheaded.

Willis not only became the hero he needed, but the friend he always wanted.

“I prayed up for months and months for the good Lord to find me somebody. And it happened that day,” Hartfield said.

And their friendship grew.

“I ended up sitting at the Dollar Tree with him for an hour and just kind of got to know a little bit of his life,” said Willis.

The conversation didn’t stop there. For safety reasons, Willis followed Hairfield home, where she spent several more hours talking with him.

Willis was never lucky enough to have grandparents while growing up in Roanoke.

“Unfortunately, the only grandmother I knew passed away when I was really young,” Willis said. “He’s like a grandfather to me.”

She soon noticed that his home needed some major renovations. What once started off as fixing floors and painting walls, soon turned to bigger projects.

Willis and several of her friends decided to create a Facebook group called, “Michael’s Blessings.”

“[That day] changed my whole life. A life that I always wanted, but couldn’t have.”

Thanks to that fateful day, Hairfield now has a life filled with friends, family, and grandchildren to call his own.

Willis has even invited Hairfield over for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, times he often spends eating a purchased dinner, sitting in front of his television at home.

“He will never spend another holiday by himself,” Willis said.

As for Hairfield, he says he’s more than ready to meet new people.

“I can’t wait. I’m a talker, so I will talk,” said Hairfield.

A Go-Fund-Me has been set up for Hairfield and his home renovations. If you would like to donate, click here.

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