On November 19th, the second day of the “Snovember” Lake Effect Storm, the Site Manager of the Thorndale IRA decided to try to make the trek into work. Leilani was confident she would get there knowing her truck was a powerful ride. However, her truck was no match for the “wall” of snow she encountered when she arrived in South Buffalo. Luckily, three men saw that Leilani needed assistance and dug her truck out of the snow. Having already gotten this far, she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from arriving at the IRA. Despite her determination she got stuck again, this time with no one in sight. To make matters worse, she was cold and quickly running out of gas.
Leilani decided to abandon her truck and walk the block or two to the Thorndale IRA. All she had to guide her were footsteps left by previous walkers. Then, the footsteps that she had been following disappeared and the snow was now well over her hips. She prayed for warmth and strength and turned around in hopes of making it back to her truck. It was then she came across a kind man named Mike. Mike and his wife, Julie, invited her in and offered her some much needed help and warmth. Julie ran and got Leilani dry clothes, a towel, and a blow-dryer. She put the wet clothes in the dryer and invited Leilani to stay for as long as she needed. But Leilani knew she had to get to her IRA. Her relief staff had been there for over two days and the vents needed to be cleared.
Mike, a stranger quickly becoming a friend, offered her to wear his hunting gear and said he would walk her to the IRA. Once Leilani stepped outside and noticed the conditions they were facing, she began to panic. “We will take this step by step, I will hold your hand if you need me to and I will get you there” said Mike. Even though the IRA was on the same street, it took them nearly an hour to make it to their destination. Mike helped Leilani every step of the way and upon arrival at the IRA he immediately began clearing the vents of heavy snow.
“I can only say thank God for good people and thank God for Julie and Mike for caring. They did not have to take me in or help me get to the IRA. I know it was probably not the safest thing to do, but all I could think about was helping the relief staff and the ladies who live at the IRA,” said Leilani.