BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Governor Kathy Hochul honored many of Buffalo’s blizzard heroes Saturday. These everyday people and first responders put it all on the line to be good neighbors.
“We have been tested,” Governor Hochul said. “We have been tested by fire, by snow, by blizzards and winds that were just unbelievable.”
It’s been a string of heartbreaking tests for Western New Yorkers over the last year.
That’s why Saturday was so special.
Governor Hochul recognized the heroic lengths first responders and everyday people took to protect their neighbors during December’s deadly blizzard.
“The everyday heroes, who could have just taken care of themselves and said ‘I can’t go out there, something could happen to me’ that was all pushed aside,” Governor Hochul said.
That includes people like Jay Withey who broke into a Cheektowaga school to shelter and feed 24 stranded drivers. And Sha’Kyra Aughtry who saved Joey White, she answered his screams for help, lost on the street with severe frostbite.
“I did what I was raised to do. it wasn’t anything out of my character, I just did it,” Aughtry told News 4. “I didn’t expect all of this, though. I did definitely not expect all of this, I just thought I was doing the right thing and I got him help and that would be the end.”
Aughtry says life since the blizzard has been a bit overwhelming.
She wasn’t one hundred percent sure the honor was real when the governor’s office reached out. But, this mother of three was touched when Governor Hochul spoke with her one-on-one.
“She told me ‘thank you’ and continue to bless lives and do what I’m doing. So, I don’t think I’m doing anything different.”
Aughtry is just one of the many incredible people honored. And one woman took to the stage to thank the first responders who saved her while pregnant.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the heroic efforts and all of the help that we received,” said Brianna Russell.
“There is no community or people stronger than right here in Buffalo,” Hochul added.
After Saturday’s ceremony, the governor told us that an independent report will be done looking at the state’s storm response.