COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Ohio State Buckeye is being credited with helping a disabled man who had severe frostbite get to the hospital after a blizzard buried much of western New York last week.
Doug Worthington, a former defensive tackle from Buffalo, was with his brother-in-law when they saw a woman’s plea on social media. Sha'Kyra Aughtry was asking anybody for help in getting 64-year-old Joe “Joey” White to the hospital after a blizzard made travel difficult for emergency services to respond to her requests.
Aughtry first heard the man yelling for help outside of her home on Christmas Eve. He was freezing.
Aughtry told 10TV’s sister station WGRZ, "The winds were sweeping him away. I seen his body and then I didn't see his body. He was stumbling and falling.”
Aughtry enlisted help from her boyfriend Trent with getting the man inside. When he found White, he was nearly frozen.
"Ice balls was on his hands. He was like frozen, his pants were frozen, his shoes were frozen."
After trying and failing to get help for White's frostbite and poor circulation from 911 and National Guard, White ended up staying with the family for two days. It was then that she asked for help and Worthington and his brother-in-law responded.
They arrived in a GMC truck and took White to a nearby hospital with Aughtry in the backseat. Worthington carried White into the hospital, placing him in a wheelchair.
"When we got him through those sliding doors and they told us to put him in a wheelchair, you know he was mouthing 'thankful' and tearing up, you know, it was like winning the Rose Bowl. It was like winning against Michigan. It was something that I’ll never forget,” Worthington said.
Worthington said saving the man was a team effort.
"I was one of a few that wanted to make sure this man was taken care of," he said.
According to WGRZ, White remains in the hospital with severe frostbite. His sister Yvonne said that it's touch and go as to whether his hands can be saved.
Worthington, now back home in Columbus, told 10TV's Andrew Kinsey that he hopes to have a reunion with White once he recovers.