[Hpn] Homeless Mo. Woman Helps Save Driver

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Fri, 12 Jul 2002 13:17:07 -0700


Top Stories - AP U.S.
U.S. National 

Homeless Mo. Woman Helps Save Driver
Fri Jul 12, 2:28 PM ET

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A homeless mother of three who helped a television news
photographer rescue a driver trapped in a burning truck received dozens of
offers for money and support from people moved by her plight.

Mary Whitehead, 31, said the generous response to her part in the rescue of
35-year-old Doris Householder was "overwhelming and exciting."

"I don't feel like I did something extraordinary or heroic," she said. "I
did what I would want someone to do for me or my children if we were in

Whitehead and Bobby Hughes, 45, a news photographer for KTVI-TV, pulled
Householder from her pickup truck after it crashed and burst into flames on
a highway exit ramp early Wednesday. Another man also helped in the rescue
but left before anyone learned his name.

Householder lost part of a leg and remained hospitalized Friday in fair

Whitehead and her three children, who shuffle between shelters and
low-budget hotels, were in their 1987 broken-down car when they heard the
collision. Hughes arrived a short time later.

"I ran up to the driver's door, and I couldn't see inside because of the
flames and the smoke," Hughes recalled. "The whole cab was engulfed in
fire." On the passenger side, he could see the woman, but the door was
stuck. With help from the other man and Whitehead, he eventually broke a
window and got Householder out.

By Thursday, Community Women Against Hardship, a private organization that
supports families in poverty, established a special account to accept
donations for Whitehead. A local foundation also offered help with proceeds
from a celebrity basketball game.

Despite the offers, Whitehead and her children  Cartez, 14, Mikeisha, 12,
and Kierra, 11  remained homeless Thursday night. Her mother, Daisy Sloan,
61, has refused to take the family in.

"I had to stand on my own two feet," Sloan said. "I'm not going to take no
kids or grown folks, either. They have to establish their own."

Whitehead, initially angry at her mother, said she now understands. "I'm not
mad at mom for her decision," she said. "I'm trying to get my life together
for my kids. I don't want them making poor choices in their lives like I

She said the rescue taught her "that if you can lend a helping hand even a
little, it's worth trying."

For Hughes, the rescue also generated heaps of praise.

"It gives you a pretty good high," he said. "I don't consider myself a hero.
But what Mary did was amazing. She prayed and comforted that woman."

Copyright  2002 The Associated Press.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.
9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net>
Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy