Niagara Falls boy carries on legacy of his deceased neighbor

Posted at 6:56 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 18:56:17-04

9-Year-old Joey Valenti doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. He keeps the field in front of his home in Niagara Falls clean. It’s a project Joey started with his next door neighbor, Tom Wilson more than five years ago. 

“Grabbing garbage, weeding, mowing,” Joey said. 

The bond between the two was strong. Neighbors started nicknaming them Joey The Menace and Mr. Wilson. But that partnership sadly ended in 2012, when 57-year-old Wilson died suddenly from a heart attack. 

“I was devastated,” Joey said.

Joey’s mom Shelli said Wilson was like a grandfather to her son who taught him many life lessons including taking pride in his community. 

“After Tom passed away, Joey said mom, can we go over and rake his yard and cut his grass? He said Mr. Tom would be very upset that his yard looks like this,” Shelli Valenti said. 

Wilson’s Family gave Joey this stone with a picture and a very important message to remember his neighbor, mentor, and above all all, his friend. 

“A man’s life is measured by not much he loved, rather by how much he was loved,” Joey read. 

No doubt Joey loved Mr. Wilson and this 9-year-old is sharing that love through community pride and Wilson’s legacy. 

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