Elderly, disabled SAHA residents reward worker for help during winter freeze

When Sandra Longoria previously checked in on residents at the Pin Oak Apartments on the Northwest Side there were about 5 inches of snow and ice on the ground. Power and water had been knocked out citywide, including at the San Antonio Housing Authority complex.

“Hello?” Longoria said to a tenant after she knocked at the door during a post storm check-up. “How are you doing? I’m just checking in on you to make sure everything is alright.”

SAHA’s client service specialist went door-to-door in the frigid weather last month and brought bottled water to people in 72 units. She spent hours on her feet and fought back frostbite from snow-soaked socks. It was all in an effort to ensure the sick, elderly and disabled who live here had the help they needed.

“I was just shocked to see her there to be honest with you,” Darlene, an elderly resident explained.

Tiffany Stone said she “felt her good heart” when Longoria stopped by to check on her well-being. She felt like someone cared during one of the scariest times of her life. That’s why she nominated her for the CASH FOR KINDNESS award.

“What would we do if we had nobody like her?” Stone asked. “Some of us be messed up.”

The surprise unfolded at the apartment complex’s event room. Longoria had no idea Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf was there.

“Hello there!” Wolf said when she entered the room. “I’m Ryan from Fox San Antonio. Do you have any idea why we’re here?

“She played me!” Longoria jokingly said as she stared at Stone. “She did.”

“It’s not a St. Patrick’s Day party,” Stone said with a big smile. “It’s a Sandra party.”

And, everyone here was ready to celebrate — her kindness.

“On top of what you did for us during the winter storm, and came out of your way for us, we really appreciate you,” Stone told her with tears in her eyes.

Longoria shared how her own family suffered during the freeze. She explained how the temperature inside her home her was bone-chilling 20 degrees.

Despite the personal hardship, she knew in her heart, Longoria said, that her extended family at the complex needed her to be there. People who live at the complex said her actions likely saved lives.

“It really didn’t matter what I was feeling at the time, cold or anything, it was about them,” Longoria shared. “And, that we want them to know that we’re here for them no matter what. You know, and that’s why, you know, all my residents, to me, it’s like, it’s like a family.”

That selfless attitude earned her a reward in the form of cash. Wolf handed her a stack of $100 bills on behalf of Fox San Antonio.

“$100, $200, $300, $400, $500,” she counted.

Longoria wiped tears from her eyes and said ”thank you” to Stone before she walked over to her gave her a hug.

“Oh, she, she got me,” Longoria laughed while they embraced. “She got me good. I love you.”