RICHMOND, Virginia -- A Virginia police officer was surprised to see the man who assaulted him six years prior ask him for help.
Richmond Police Officer Rey Perez does more than just serve and protect in Richmond's Mosby Court community. He also works to boost confidence and the economy.
Perez came up with "Bridging the Gap: One Human at a Time."
The six-week program trains people with checkered pasts -- helping them to find and keep jobs.
"I feared the most that employers were not going to hire me based on my criminal history," Perry said.
Officer Perez was so impressed with the leadership skills Perry honed in prison, that he made Perry the vice president of his non-profit.
"We don’t turn anyone down. We help everybody. There is no restrictions or limits to the help we give," Perry said.
That promise was put to the test when Walter Neal approached "Bridging the Gap" officials for help.
"When my cousin first told me about it, I was like, ‘Him? No. No,'" Neal said.
"I was very surprised initially when he walked in," Officer Perez admitted.
Six years ago, 31-year-old Walter served 30 days for assaulting a police officer. The officer he assaulted was Rey Perez.
Both men have forgiven and moved on.
"(Rey) came to me with a few opportunities to change a thing or two in my life. I learned how to sell myself in an interview, and I learned a few management skills too," Neal said.
After graduating from "Bridging the Gap," Neal started a new job at KFC and began working toward his computer degree.
"People move on and forgive and forget. And now I’m here," Neal said.