One frigid night, UT Health San Antonio Police Department Officer John Langston rescued a resident physician whose car was stuck in the ice and snow on Floyd Curl Drive. The young doctor was frantically trying to get to work at University Hospital, and Officer Langston obliged, getting her safely to her hospital shift.
Police dispatchers and others abandoned “schedules” and “shifts” as needed during the February winter storm. Dispatcher Diana Madrid was at work when the worst of the ice storm hit and couldn’t get home, so she simply stayed put, sleeping in the office and filling in for those who couldn’t make it in for a couple of days.
In his Helotes neighborhood, UT Police Lt. Robert Patterson and his family were relatively safe and sound. They never lost power or water, but friends and extended family were not so lucky.
“I tried to help out others where I could,” he said.
Patterson, his wife, Debbie, and son, Tyler, had a couple of spare bedrooms, a heated RV and a roaring fireplace that they offered out to people who needed a shower and a place to warm their bones. They gave away a cord of firewood and filled jug after jug of clean water for those who had none.
“And since we had gone shopping on the Saturday before the big freeze, we had plenty of eggs, milk, bread and meat,” he said. “We prepped meals for some of the people that came over and also gave some away to folks in the neighborhood.”
In between, he found time to check on his 96-year-old neighbor whose daughter couldn’t make it to Helotes. One night the elderly woman had a pipe burst, and Patterson had to go over and shut off her water in the cold, wet, miserable conditions.