When crises, natural disasters, and hardships arise, there are often stories of good samaritans who offer help, and the Buffalo, New York, blizzard is no exception.
Sha'Kyra Aughtry went well beyond just making a phone call or offering a meal. Ms. Aughtry saved the life of one disabled man who found himself stranded on foot in a snowbank just outside her home!
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When the blizzard hit Buffalo, New York, on Christmas Eve, 2022, 64-year-old Joey White was in it and desperately needed help. Joey, who often goes by Joe, has a mental disability and resides in a group home several blocks from Sha'Kyra's home.
Even with a disability, Joe has worked as a janitor for North Park Theatre since 1980! He is described as a "gentle soul," a hard worker, and a sports fan by his boss, Ray Barker. So, perhaps Joe's long tenure at the theater is why he decided to head out on December 23, even after stern warnings to stay at home.
Joe's sister, Yvonne White, received a call from Sha'Kyra at approximately 7:30 p.m. on December 24. Sha'Kyra began, "Hi. You don't know me, but I have your brother."
Woman Saves Elderly Man In Buffalo, New York, Blizzard
After hearing cries of pain, Sha'Kyra discovered Joe outside in the snow. She and her boyfriend ventured into the storm and brought Joe in, immediately administering first aid.
Using a hair dryer, Sha'Kyra removed the garments stuck to his body, along with his frozen socks. Joe's hands were swollen and blistered from frostbite. Sha'Kyra spent an hour trying to warm Joe up before stopping to call anyone. Joe, fortunately, was able to provide his sister's number for Sha'Kyra to make that call.
Yvonne believes that Joe, in spite of her warnings, left his home sometime on December 23, walked the nine miles to the theater, and then decided to spend the night there after becoming concerned.
She believes that he then decided to head back home on foot the next day. It's unknown how long he walked in the Buffalo, New York, blizzard before collapsing in the snow outside of Sha'Kyra's home.
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Deadly conditions kept Yvonne from being able to pick up her brother, 20 miles away from Sha'Kyra. Furthermore, 911 was unable to respond to repeated calls because there was no way for the emergency vehicles to reach the home.
The Kindness Of Strangers
After a full day had passed, both Sha'Kyra and Yvonne posted messages on Facebook asking for help. Sha'Kyra knew that Joe needed medical help beyond what she could deliver. Soon, neighbors arrived to clear the road and transport Joe to Erie County Medical Center. Thirty-six hours had passed.
Reports vary, but the storm claimed the lives of somewhere between 30 and 60 individuals. New York's Governor Kathy Hochul called the event the "the blizzard of the century.
A disabled man was stuck in a Buffalo snowbank. A stranger heard his cry and saved him. This is the true feel good story of Christmas 2022! Sha'Kyra Aughtry is a hero! She deserves all accolades a caring society can bestow. Joey White is touched by grace. https://t.co/XArzPZgIlL
- Wade Henderson (@Wade4Justice) December 28, 2022
Unfortunately, Joe did lose his fingers as a result of the frostbite, but he did not lose his life! And that is due to the kindness of Sha'Kyra and her boyfriend, who took Joe into their home, warmed and nursed him, and cared for him for a few days over Christmas!
Yvonne told CBS, "This is terrible, and then to see the compassion and the love with two strangers ... is just amazing."
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"He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn, and took care of him." Luke 10:34
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Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Yvonne White