Good deeds abound during blizzard, aftermath in Baltimore
By Baltimore Sun staff
Jan 27, 2016 at 11:54 AM
The record snowstorm that hit the Baltimore area over the weekend may have been enough to close offices and schools and halt traffic, but the community spirit wasn't stopped that easily. Many Baltimoreans and Marylanders took to the streets to help their fellow residents.
Here are some readers' stories of the good Samaritan actions they witnessed or took part in in response to this weekend's blizzard. If you have a story to share, email reporter Brittany Britto at email@example.com.
Erin Feury of White Marsh shared her Facebook post with The Baltimore Son, looking for a woman who helped saved her father's life on Sunday. Feury writes:
"As many of you now know, my dad had a heart attack in his driveway (on Putty Hill Avenue) this past Sunday. By the grace of God and the hands of a few amazing people he was kept alive until the paramedics were able to revive him. At the hospital, we learned that he would have to undergo open heart surgery to "fix his plumbing" once he was strong enough to handle the operation. Currently, Dad is having quadruple bypass surgery. One of the amazing people that fought to keep Dad's heart beating in the driveway was a young nurse who we think saw what was happening and stopped to take over CPR for my stepmom. The act of this woman was nothing short of heroic! She saved his LIFE!!! I would love to know who this was and just be able to thank her. If anyone has heard this story from a nurse friend, I would be eternally grateful if you, #1 would share my gratitude, and #2 (with her blessing), help me get in touch with her!!"
Beth Olson, district manager of Walgreens pharmacies, writes:
"I just wanted to give a shout-out to three of my employees whose quick thinking helped a stranded customer during the storm get her lifesaving medication.
On Sunday afternoon, a frantic customer called the 24-hour Walgreens in Abingdon hoping they were open. She said she was traveling during the storm and got stuck at a motel just off [Interstate] 95 and [Route] 24 in Bel Air. She said she had taken her last dose of insulin the night before and was in desperate need of some for that day, but there was no way she would be able to get out of the [motel] until they dug out. The pharmacist, Cassandra, contacted Max, the manager on duty, to see if anyone could get out to deliver the insulin. They were already running on a skeleton crew and most [of] my stores were still closed. Max had been there all night and was snowed in at the store, but he was able to get a hold of the store manager of another store, Markus, who has a 4-wheel drive truck. Markus was not able to open his own store because it had not been plowed yet, but he was able to get out. Markus came and picked up the insulin and delivered it within 30 minutes. The quick action of Cassandra, Max, and Markus helped a customer get her much-needed medication."
Shelley Sharkey, who lives on Stevenson Street in Locust Point, writes:
"I always talk about how I live on the BEST street. This is not an exaggeration. Our neighbors took on 29 inches of snow like BOSSES. No plow came up our street but good people armed with shovels, heart and determination came out. [My husband], Steve, has to work during all of the snow stuff and being at home with a 7-month-old and 4-year-old extremely limits [my] helping abilities this season. Words could never express how truly grateful I am."
Later in a tweet to The Baltimore Sun, Sellenrick wrote: "Because we have no hope for a plow, people on the block just banded together to get it done. The plow never came in 2010."
After seeing the Patterson Park neighborhood shovel blocks in the community, Pat Lundberg, the president of the Patterson Park Neighborhood Association, said:
"The camaraderie, selflessness, and teamwork throughout our community on Monday is indicative of the kind of place Patterson Park is. When there's a common goal, our community knows that we can get more done when working together. Not to mention, we know how to make it a great time; as music, refreshments, and an ice bar to celebrate the hard work set the scene throughout the afternoon."
Rachel Miller, 23, of Federal Hill, wrote an email to The Baltimore Sun, admiring her older brother's selfless act:
“After hearing the news earlier that the Baltimore County Humane Society got hit really hard by the storm and was asking for support, my brother, Gary Williams, knew he had to help. He lives about a mile away from the Humane Society [in Reisterstown] so he walked with his snow blower and backpack with an extra 5-gallon tank of gas on the snow covered roads to help clear them out. He is a father of two little ones and has his own driveway and street that needed to be cleared, but he knew that this was what he was called to do. He was extremely happy he could help! Unfortunately, his snowblower broke before he could finish his own driveway but regardless he was just happy he could help someone that was truly in need. He has rescued two of his own dogs from the humane society so I think it was pretty special [for] him to give back just a little bit of what they've given him.
His love for animals and doing good for others is so inspiring and I feel that it is something that should be shared. I am so proud to be his sister.”
Lauren Singer, 25, of Federal Hill writes:
"On our block on Fort Avenue, [my fiance] Gary would go out to shovel every few hours only to find that the whole line of houses had already been shoveled! So he would then shovel the whole sidewalk, too. We never saw the other neighbors and they didn't see us, but it made the upkeep a lot easier to have someone shoveling and salting every few hours."
Cheryl Knauer, the director of media relations at McDaniel College in Westminster, wrote:
“Members of the McDaniel College men's lacrosse team were out on Saturday shoveling sidewalks and walkways of elderly neighbors in Westminster … McDaniel College posted about this on our Facebook and Twitter accounts on Saturday. We received nearly 15,000 people reached, nearly 500 likes and over 50 shares and 20 comments just on the Facebook post.”
McDaniel College student and lacrosse player, Jason Lawrence, of Fallston, 22, told The Baltimore Sun in a phone interview:
"We went out on Saturday morning and we got what seemed like close to 20 inches of snow. [Fellow lacrosse players Corbin Schmucker, Tony Roney] and I met at my house, and we decided to go outside and shovel off the sidewalks. One of the neighbors approached us and asked us to help out with the neighbors [because] they’re more elderly folks and they wouldn’t be able to leave their homes. And we told them, that’s no problem, we can do that without any pay. We just wanted to help out. So we decided we would clear a path for them and it would be safe for them to get out.
It was about 10 in the morning, and we started making a path from their homes to the street. Every 2 hours we went back out until it got dark.
It actually kind of gave us more of a drive. We knew it wasn’t the greatest situation ever and there was a lot of snow and that it wasn’t going to be fun, but just knowing that these people needed help, helped the day go by faster … We had fun with it.”
Charles Village restaurant Pete's Grille thanked members of the Johns Hopkins University fraternity Beta Theta Pi on its Facebook page for helping the restaurant shovel out:
We want to send a massive shout out to the fine men of Beta Theta Pi - Johns Hopkins University. When they heard that...
"We want to send a massive shout out to the fine men of Beta Theta Pi [at] Johns Hopkins University. When they heard that we needed help digging out from the Blizzard of 2016 they immediately responded with five brothers equipped with shovels. Not only did they do a great job, they repeatedly refused to accept compensation. These are the type of students who add to the fine reputation of Johns Hopkins University. We know that they spent their day giving to the community in many ways, asking for nothing in return. What great neighbors! We can't thank you enough."
Maynard Edwards, 40, of Parkville, writes:
"I did pick up a lady from the hospital. She and her baby had been in the ER and had arrived by ambulance. All I did was drive them home after seeing a Facebook plea. Not a huge deal.
But I did see the owner of a 7-11 on [Bel Air Road] buy some donuts and then he broke them up and gave them to the birds outside. It was 7 a.m. Sunday morning. No one had really gotten out yet. I thought it was sweet that he took some time to think of smaller creatures in the world.
Don't tell PETA. Donuts are probably bad for birds, and they'll boycott the poor guy."
"My girlfriend, my roommate and his girlfriend and I went on an adventure to see what [Interstate] 95 looked like at like 7 on Saturday. We ended up helping five different people stuck on [Route] 543 and I-95. One couple was from Florida. Ironic, huh? One lady was one her way to the firehouse. It was awesome. We went to see 95 and ended up helping a lot of people get to safety."
Laurel Porter, of Riverside, writes:
"I live at 700 Harvey St. in the Riverside neighborhood between Locust Point and Federal Hill. As of noon today on Tuesday, a snow plow had yet to come down our street. After 96 hours of being snowed in, the residents of the 600 and 700 block of Harvey Street decided to band together and take matters into their own hands.
Over the next 7 hours (from noon until 7 p.m.) 20 to 30 residents of our small two-block area [came] together via social media and hand shoved our entire untouched street — taking great care to place snow in convenient locations and dig out every car along the way.
Those who were not of able body to shovel provided beer, wine and Bloody Mary's at a constantly replenished "snow bar" along with tons of encouragement. While other communities may choose to complain about the city's inaction, our community made a choice to take action ourselves. To me, this is Baltimore."
John DiDomenico, 35, of Federal Hill, writes:
"On the morning of Sunday, Jan. 24, I was walking to my car parked at the corner of Riverside and Gittings Street. I went to see how bad [my car was blocked by] the bucket loader that had come down Riverside on Saturday night. I had my beautiful Siberian Husky with me and he was enjoying the fresh powder. We were returning from our walk to go dig out my neighbors' and my brother's parking pad when I walked by Folsom Street and Riverside Avenue and saw all of the neighbors shoveling. There were six of our neighbors hard at work, shoveling out the street. (I know most of them from the dog park. We have a close group of people that frequent the dog park and we are all friends.)
[There was] another four to six people around the corner shoveling out the alleyway as well, so those could access riverside and go about their daily lives. The shovel out of both Folsom and the alleyway probably took all of Sunday. Though I was not involved, I did shovel out a number of my neighbors. As I was casually walking by, I had my GoPro on me and could not help but snap a picture of the group. I praised them for coming together as a family.”
"I have the best block ever! We rallied the troops and got our entire block shoveled on Monday. It took seven hours, great music, lots of cookies (and beer), much laughter and some amazing neighbors, but we got it done. We are lucky to have a Google group for the block so communication in times like these is easy. The Google group was born out of the storm of 2010 when we didn't see a plow for 11 days and so we finally did it ourselves. I hear a lot of people complaining about the city's response. I actually think they did the best they could in a tough situation. I prefer to focus on the reactions of our neighbors. Some have chosen to band together and lift each other up while others sit by idly expecting action to happen on its own. I think all of those who took action got a lot more than just a clean street. Happy to be part of the action takers."