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Kind woman saves disabled elderly man who was lost by providing him shelter during the Buffalo blizzard

Joe left his house and ended up outside Aughtry's home where she heard him crying in pain. She immediately invited him inside to take refuge.

Kind woman saves disabled elderly man who was lost by providing him shelter during the Buffalo blizzard
Image Source: Yvonne White/Facebook

The Buffalo blizzard has turned out to be one of the deadliest snowstorms in the history of the country. According to ABC News, at least 60 people have been found dead across the region over the Christmas weekend. At a press conference last week, Hochul in western New York referred to the storm as "the blizzard of the century." However, even in such an adverse and life-threatening situation, people in Buffalo did everything they can to help those in need, per The Washington Post.



Yvonne White got a phone call at around 7:30 a.m. on Christmas eve from an unknown number. A voice from the other end said, "Hi. You don’t know me, but I have your brother." White's brother, Joey, was saved by Buffalo resident Sha'Kyra Aughtry during the catastrophic winter storm that had started to hammer Western New York a few days earlier. Joey White, 64, has a mental disability, according to his sister. Just before the storm arrived, she gave him a harsh warning to stay inside the group home where he resides. He assured her that he would remain put. However, Joey White, commonly known as Joe, went outdoors as the city of Buffalo was battered by the greatest snowstorm in fifty years. 

Joe left his house at an unknown hour and for an unknown reason, according to White, although she believes he walked about nine miles to the North Park Theatre where he has worked as a janitor since 1980. She thinks he got worried, spent the night there indoors, and then made up his mind to go home on foot. On December 24, at around 6:30 a.m., Joe found himself in a snowbank outside Aughtry's house, which is roughly a seven-minute drive from the theater under normal circumstances. Yvonne White was informed by Aughtry that the man was wailing and sobbing in pain. 




When Aughtry heard the guy crying, she went outside and discovered him. According to White, she and her boyfriend entered the storm together and brought him inside. Joe suffered significant frostbite that was clearly obvious. Aughtry informed that she used a hairdryer to remove the garment that was stuck tenaciously to his trembling body. She also ripped off his frozen socks and unglued Joe's hands from the remains of a supermarket bag. Aughtry sent pictures of her brother's skin to White, showing how terribly swollen and covered with blisters and sores of all colors it appears to be. 

Aughtry tried to warm him up for approximately one hour before she dialed White. Joe had memorized the number of his sister and she called it "miracle number one." It was heartbreaking for her as there was no way for her to reach her brother 20 miles away in a deadly storm. Even still, despite everything Aughtry had done to tend to his wounds, he still need immediate medical care. However, even after calling 911 a "hundred times," there was no way any emergency medical professional could reach their house. 



One whole day after Joey White showed up at her door, Aughtry uploaded a live video on Facebook in a desperate plea for assistance. She said in the video, "I’ve been very private and sensitive about this situation. I have literally called everybody under the sun. I’m asking for help from whoever. This man needs serious help." Additionally, White made an appeal on a local Facebook page. Within a half-hour, a large number of neighbors offered to assist, and several of them turned out to plow the area around Aughtry's house. They cautiously carried Joe to the Erie County Medical Center while covering him in a warm blanket. He was accompanied by Aughtry. 

Joe's boss, Ray Barker, the program director of North Park Theatre said that he is being treated in the trauma unit and "the physician who is seeing him won’t know how he’ll come through this until time goes by." He added, "We are very much hoping that they will not have to amputate any of his fingers." Barker is most appreciative that Joe is still alive, calling him a "gentle soul" with a commitment to hard work and a love of sports, particularly baseball and all of that is due to Aughtry. 

Barker said, "Her act was an act of goodness, it was an act of charity, it was an act of empathy, it was an act of care. Joe won’t be able to express his gratitude fully, but he will feel it emotionally."

This is a developing story, and we’ll update you as we learn more. Information about the Buffalo snowstorm is swiftly changing, and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency of developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. You can check for information and seek help at Buffalo Blizzard Resources.

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