When a child is sick or in pain, a parent will do anything to make them feel better. But sometimes, a parent is faced with the terrifying situation of not being able to do anything to help them.
When a snowstorm left a North Carolina family stranded without power for days, the terrified mother started to fear for the worst. She knew her baby, who had recently been sick, was in danger in the freezing temperatures but was powerless to get somewhere warm and safe. Thankfully, however, a National Guardsman came to their rescue just in time…
A Massive Snowstorm
In early December of 2018, areas throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia were hit with a severe and sudden snow storm. The storm unloaded several inches of heavy snow and ice in the southeast of the United States, which normally doesn’t get such big storms.
Early In The Season
For many cities throughout the states, it was one of the earliest storms on record to bring so much snow. According to AccuWeather, some areas in western North Carolina and southwest Virginia were completely blanketed in well over 20 inches of snow.
The Hardest Hit City
Out of every city, Mount Mitchell in North Carolina was hit the hardest and received the most amount of snow. By the end of the storm, 34 inches of snow covered everything. While other places weren’t hit quite so hard, the storm still brought as much snow as they normally receive during an entire winter season.
Just Getting Started
“We’ve had our entire winter average in one day,” ABC11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker said. “This is typically a snow that we’d see in January and February,” he added. “We’re just getting this one early this year. But I don’t think we’re done by any means. I still think we have winter to go through.”
Many of those areas weren’t used to receiving so much snow in one storm, and as a result, chaos erupted. Throughout the entire region, the snow brought widespread disruptions, travel shutdowns, and power outages. In total, 380,000 homes were left without power.
Outages And Damage
For many areas, the power outages were due to tree limbs sagging and snapping under the weight of the heavy snow. The weight of the snow also caused property damage to homes throughout the region as many roofs started collapsing under the immense weight.
Getting To Work
In the wake of the storm, first responders had their hands full responding to thousands of accidents and calls for help from people without power. In North Carolina alone, highway patrol officers responded to 2,300 accidents because of the storm.
A Deadly Storm
Even several days later on December 10, 2018, people throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia were still without any power in their homes. Tragically, several people actually lost their lives during or after the storm.
The Governor Speaks Out
“Unfortunately, the snow has turned into a nightmare and a tragedy for some, claiming three lives. We mourn them and offer our deepest sympathies to their loved ones,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement while also warning residents to “stay vigilant.”
A New Danger
After the storm, warmer temperatures helped melt some of the snow, however, that presented new problems for everyone. When the temperature dipped back down overnight, all of the slush froze again and covered roads and sidewalks with dangerous ice.
A Warning To The Public
Governor Cooper urged everyone in North Carolina to stay off the roads if possible as they were now covered in dangerous ice. “Frigid temperatures descended on North Carolina last night, transforming slushy roads into treacherous ice,” Cooper warned in a statement to the public.
Don’t Risk It
“My message is simple: If conditions in your area are still dangerous, don’t take the risk,” Cooper added. “Sit tight and wait for the sunshine and safety.” Meanwhile, first responders throughout North Carolina were still hard at work trying to rescue stranded people or anyone trapped without power that needed help.
The National Guardsman
27-year-old Sgt. Donovan McPherson from the National Guard was one of those men and women volunteering their time to help any way they could after the storm. According to McPherson, who had been a member of the National Guard for 11 years, he had just finished up taking finals at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
The Emergency Call
When the storm hit, he suited up and went out with to help escort emergency responders as they drove around Lenoir, North Carolina, which received about 18 inches of snow. According to McPherson, during his first day volunteering, emergency workers received a call from a local family in trouble.
Desperate For Help
The baby’s mother explained that her baby was sick and that they desperately needed to get somewhere warm and with power. She went on to explain that a tree fell during the storm and her home was cut off from power. As a result, she had been left stranded in the home without any power for three days.
No Time To Wait
The mother was hoping to just wait until power was restored to the house, but the baby had recently been sick and she didn’t want to wait any longer and risk her baby becoming ill again. “The baby was recently sick,” McPherson told WRAL. “They were worried the baby would get sick again.”
Impossible To Drive
McPherson decided to respond to the call and when he got to the home, he found the mother frantically trying to carry the baby and several other items out of the house. Unfortunately, the roads were too bad to drive on, but McPherson found another solution.
An Incredible Solution
Instead of getting to safety by car, McPherson offered to carry the baby in a car seat the entire way. “She just thanked us,” McPherson said after his good deed, which made national news. McPherson and the state’s emergency management hazard team then transported the family to Hudson, North Carolina where relatives live.
Thanking Their Rescuers
“Thank you all for working so hard & helping my granddaughter get to a warm area to help maintain her body temperature,” Stephanie Sides Gilbert, the baby’s grandmother, wrote in a post on social media thanking the heroes. Without their help, the baby may have been in serious danger.
A Humble Hero
“She would have been out too long to make it to my house,” Gilbert wrote in her note. “And also a big thank you to responding Caldwell County rescue. All the people were extremely nice and helpful.” According to McPherson, however, he was only doing his job.