BY Amanda Thomason, The Western JournalJanuary 15, 2023
1 year ago

Woman Saves Man Caught in Terrible Blizzard Crying for Help, His Hands Frozen Into Fists

The ideal Christmas, for many, is time spent with family and friends inside, out of the elements, safe and warm and fed.

For Sha'Kyra Aughtry and her family, Christmas 2022's theme had a name: Joe White.

The family from Buffalo, New York, was experiencing the incredible blizzard Christmas Eve safe inside their home when Aughtry heard a heartbreaking sound. Someone was crying for help, and when she looked out the window, she saw a man bent over, in pain in the freezing weather and brutal wind, knee-deep in the snow.

Aughtry had her boyfriend bring the man inside, where they assessed the damage and tried to make him as comfortable as possible.

His name was Joe White. He was 64 years old, but developmentally he functioned like a 10-year-old. He lived at a nearby group home and worked at the local theater but he'd gotten trapped in the storm after getting disoriented, and his hands had frozen closed around the bags he'd been carrying.

His hands were so badly damaged that the couple had to cut the bags away, leaving the handles frozen between his fingers. They used a branch lopper to cut his rings off as his fingers turned colors, blistered and swelled.

Of course, they called 911 -- but the storm conditions were so bad that no one could get to them. So they waited, and waited, and did their best to care for their unexpected Christmas house guest.

As his condition continued to deteriorate and he started to experience pain, Aughtry took to social media, desperate for help.

"I'm going crazy because I'm scared," she said on a Facebook livestream, according to CNN. "I'm starting to see his body change too much from the time that I had him -- his body has changed rapidly every hour.

"I've called the National Guard. I've called 911. I've called everybody -- they just keep telling me I'm on a list. I don't want to be on a list. I don't care about nothing else. This man is not about to die over here."

They finally got their Christmas miracle on Christmas night, when some good Samaritans with a truck made their way to her home and escorted White to the hospital, where he was finally able to start receiving treatment.

"I want to Thank God for waking me up at the right moment to hear Joey White’s cries for help," Aughtry shared on Facebook on Dec. 29. "As of now, Joey is safe, and receiving the medical attention that he needs. For those who know me, you know that it is my character to always act with compassion, grace and kindness."

Thanks to Aughtry and her boyfriend, White was spared a terrible death, but he has a long road ahead of him. His sister, Yvonne White, initially said that he had fourth-degree frostbite and was in the ICU.

"I'm hoping and praying for the best," White told CNN. "We were all trying to help each other and it was wonderful."

In an update on White's condition, CBS reported that doctors were unable to save his fingers or knuckles, and they had to be removed. A friend of White's has started a GoFundMe to help pay for his treatment.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Amanda Thomason, The Western Journal

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