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The snow that shutdown Virginia could not stop this nursing assistant from helping her patients

Posted at 2:19 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 19:33:21-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- When more than a foot of snow fell on Central Virginia in January, it shutdown businesses and forced many workers to stay home. Certified nursing assistant Sammy Mebratu was not one of them. How seriously does Sammy, who immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia 20 years ago, take her job at The Crossings at Iron Bridge? During the height of the January storm, she never thought about missing work.

"Sammy is just amazing. She just doesn’t miss a beat," Sherry Matthews, executive director of The Crossings, said. "She is just nose to the grindstone and makes sure she gets it done and as a matter of fact she is always available when we need her."

It has been like that ever since Sammy started working at the Chesterfield assisted living facility two years ago. And it did not change because of the snow.

With driving on road covered in deep snow out of the question, Sammy did what she does best. Walk.

"Oh. It was really difficult," Sammy said about the snowy, two-mile walk to work. "I love to do my job. I love it. I like to help people."

The walk, in blizzard-like conditions, took the 55-year-old woman about two hours to complete.

"I’m sure there are no sidewalks, so she was walking in the middle of the street and she could have been hit by a car, but she put all of that aside to trek to work," Matthews said. "I would say she is an iron woman."

To make her walk that much more difficult, Sammy made the treacherous trip one month after she had surgery on her right foot. She put cardboard in her shoe to protect her tender foot.

"I walked with that, so I didn’t feel it," Sammy said.

Why take risks? Sammy said she did not want to let down the people who depend on her.

"I feel that these people are part of my family," Sammy said. "I feel it is my obligation. I feel like I have to do it. I have to do it. I feel that way."

She quietly arrived at work, not looking for accolades.

"She really didn’t feel like she did anything unusual," Matthews said.

Her colleagues and residents agree that quiet resolve defines Sammy.

"She was so concerned about the patients that she didn’t want anyone to be forgotten," resident Mary Dalton said.

Snowed in, Sammy spent the weekend at work. Putting others before herself.

"I like to go one mile extra," Sammy said.

An extra mile through a storm to remember.

"She is such a love. I just love her dearly," Dalton said.

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Greg McQuade and CBS 6 News are featuring local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.