Former POW Goes on Vaccine Road Trip with Neighbor
Two friends show what being a Good Neighbor is all about.
Hank Prewitt survived nearly a year as a prisoner of war in the “Hanoi Hilton,” one of only six survivors of his 136-soldier unit. The 78-year-old spent 30 years in the military, traveled the world, survived cancer and the passing of his beloved wife.
He wanted to survive Covid-19, too.
A chance encounter
Hank lives in in Corbin, Ky., a small town of about 8,000 people. He was born and raised in Corbin and after he joined the military, he settled in Connecticut where he and his wife raised their family. After she passed away, he decided to return home.
“I got tired of talking to the wall, so eventually I came back,” joked Hank.
In 2016, Hank got a new neighbor. Mayur Ramesh Shah moved to Corbin from Philadelphia to be closer to his work and two sons. The 45-year-old University of the Cumberlands professor, small business and health economics consultant, dad, lifelong volunteer, immigrant who speaks four languages, didn’t know anybody in town until he moved next to Hank.
“I was getting my mail one day, and I saw that I got Hank’s on accident,” Mayur said. He’d never met his new neighbor and when he went to return the misplaced mail, a bill from the local internet provider, the two got to talking.
“He told me how much he was paying for his internet access and I was like, ‘That sounds like way too much,’ so we took a look at it,” Mayur said. With a few quick calls, Mayur helped Hank cut his bill almost in half and a friendship was born.
Now on paper, they make a pretty unlikely pair.
“Pretty much everything about us is different,” said Mayur. Everything except, as Hank pointed out, a few key facts.
“We’re human beings, we’re neighbors and we’re friends,” Hank said. “That still counts for something.”
Like the rest of us, Mayur and Hank’s world changed last year when Covid hit.
“I didn’t get out too much before, and now it was even harder,” Hank said.
When Hank heard from the VA hospital he was eligible for the vaccine, he initially felt conflicted; Lexington was the nearest site, and it’s 100 miles away.
“I’m not as mobile as I used to be,” he said. “I’m blind in one eye and don’t see so well in the other, so I figured I wouldn’t go.”
Mayur had other ideas. “I told him if he wanted to go, I’d drive him whenever he wanted.”
So, that’s what they did
Over the following few weeks, Mayur and Hank drove to Lexington twice, and Hank received both of his doses of the Covid-19 vaccines.
After returning from that first visit, Mayur found the 100 for Good™ app, a program developed by State Farm® that encourages people to log their good deeds to inspire others to do the same and see the collective impact we all make across the country.
Mayur, a State Farm customer, was actually looking up information on Drive Safe and Save™ when he came across the 100 for Good app.
“I thought it sounded kind of cool, so I figured I’d download it and see what it was all about,” Mayur said. After downloading the app, he logged in the trip he and Hank had just taken and promptly forgot all about it.
“This was quite the first logged Act of Good by Mayur and exactly what we were hoping to see when we introduced 100 for Good app to the public…we were so proud,” said State Farm Senior Vice President Annette Martinez. “It is a great example of what being a good neighbor is all about, demonstrating human kindness in big and small ways.”
Mayur is going to keep logging his Acts of Good in the app as he has donated his time and talents a great deal over the years. “I got this instilled in me from my parents; they taught me to always pay it forward.”
Hank and Mayur encourage others to check out the 100 for Good program to be inspired by others’ acts and to see there are good neighbors all around.
At State Farm, we believe doing good is contagious and there are good neighbors all around, even though it’s sometimes hard to see. People who, each and every day, make the world a better place, one Act of Good at a time.
That’s why we started 100 for Good™.
Giving back, doing good and being there when it counts are all part of our State Farm culture. It’s who we are, and it’s who you are, too. 100 for Good brings us all together so we can see all the amazing Acts of Good our fellow Good Neighbors are doing across the country.
Big or small, every Act of Good makes a difference. Donating old clothes, paying for a stranger’s coffee, or big acts like Mayur’s.
Join the community of Good Neighbors. Download the 100 for Good app today (available on iOS and Android App stores), start tracking your Acts of Good, and share your story using #100forGood. Together, we can do so much good, and inspire others to join the movement of making this world a better place, one Act of Good at a time.