‘I knew that he deserved family’: Man’s medical emergency leads to friendship, house restoration

Michael’s Blessings group has raised more than $4,000 to fix man’s home

One Roanoke man's medical emergency led to an unexpected bond between his savior.

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – At first glance, you might think Michael Hairfield and Dani Willis are father and daughter.

“I love her to death," Hairfield said about Willis. “I can’t tell you how much I love her.”

The two have only known each other for less than a month; Willis came to Hairfield’s rescue after he passed out from diabetic shock inside of a Roanoke County Dollar Tree. Willis decided then to help Hairfield get the home and family of his dreams.

“I helped him go back home, and then two hours later I found out all about his life," Willis said. “I knew that he deserved family. I knew he deserved love.”

“If that day doesn’t happen, I might not be here," Hairfield said. “I’m hoping I don’t pinch myself and it all goes away.”

Willis and her childhood friend, Amanda Baker, created a Facebook group, Michael’s Blessings, to share his story and recruit volunteers to fix his run-down double-wide home. The group has raised more than $4,000 for repairs through a GoFundMe, Venmo and cash donations.

“We just want to see him come home and enjoy home," Baker said. "I think it feels good to Michael to know he’s not alone anymore.”

The group has repaired Hairfield’s bedroom and parts of his living room, but there is still work to do. That includes fixing the home’s roof, which they fear will not last through the winter.

Willis said the effort has now become personal for her.

“Our kids now call him peepaw," Willis said. “He’s so caring. He’s super loving.”

Hairfield says he already feels blessed for what Willis and the group have done for his life.

“There’s so many people in this day and time that don’t give a hoot about anybody,” Hairfield said. “My dreams have come true. It’s that simple. I never had kids of my own, but she’s my daughter now.”