Veteran who was victim of hit-and-run gets random act of kindnes - Tucson News Now

Veteran who was victim of hit-and-run gets random act of kindness

When Steven Richardson tried to help a woman who was being attacked, the suspect ran him down and sped away. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) When Steven Richardson tried to help a woman who was being attacked, the suspect ran him down and sped away. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Suspect Cody Gibson arrested Wednesday afternoon (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Suspect Cody Gibson arrested Wednesday afternoon (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
911 calls released in hit-and-run of Valley vet (Source: KPHO/KTVK) 911 calls released in hit-and-run of Valley vet (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A man now sits in jail charged with the horrific hit-and-run of a veteran who was trying to help a victim of domestic violence. Now the mother of a fallen service member is carrying out one of her son's final wishes -- random acts of kindness.

Debbie Lee runs an organization called America's Mighty Warriors. It provides those random acts of kindness to military members. She says she had to meet Steven Richardson when she heard about his selfless act a week ago. She asked us to be there.

It's is the ultimate example of turning something bad into something good. 

"I'm blown away right now," Samantha Richardson, Steven's wife, said. "I don't even know what to say."

The fact that it was a complete surprise made the experience even better. 

"No, I would have never expected this to happen," Samantha said.

[READ MORE: Wife of veteran who was run over speaks]

The surprise was courtesy of Lee, who was inspired to live a life of giving back following the 2006 death of her son, Marc. 

"It's a double blessing for me because I'm accepting my son's challenge in his last letter home," Lee explained. "My son, Marc Lee, was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq."

Lee arrived at the Richardson home as we were conducting an interview with them. They did not know she was coming.

Before Marc died, he wrote what's known as his "glory letter." 

"...And in there, he talks about doing more random acts of kindness and how we could change our world," Lee said.

Lee says Richardson did just that when he tried to help a woman being beaten and dragged across the parking lot of the Fry's shopping center on East Riggs Road in Chandler.

[RELATED: Man trying to help woman in parking lot finds himself victim of hit-and-run]

The suspect, Cody Gibson, ran him down and fled the scene. Police have since arrested him.

"If someone was in trouble I would do it again," Richardson said.

[RELATED: Vet run down by domestic violence suspect speaks out from hospital]

"You exemplify doing those random acts of kindness," Lee told Richardson. "So, we'd like to present you with a check for $5,000 as a random act of kindness."

Richardson was more shocked by the framed copy of Marc's letter. 

"It means 100 percent more than any form of money," he said.

Lee said that shows it doesn't take a ton of green to make a difference for someone else. 

"If everybody did this on a more regular basis, our world really would be a different place," she said.

Gibson, 18, is being held at the 4th Avenue Jail. Accused of aggravated assault and hit-and-run, his bond is $200,000. Gibson's next court date is April 21.

[RELATED: Suspect arrested in hit-and-run of Valley veteran]

Police have no information about the woman Gibson is accused of abusing, the one Richardson was trying to help.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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