This week, winter storm Uri thrashed Texas, blanketing it in snow and leaving hundreds of thousands without power or clean water. But Texans are banding together to make it through this crisis.

Paying it forward

Last March, Ryan Sivley was badly injured in a car crash.

“Well, I got hit by a few cars and a Harley,” he explained to KVUE. “I can’t do more than 20 pounds on my left arm and I can’t walk for more than two hours a day.”

Nearly a year later, Sivley is still struggling with injuries from the accident, but he’s still doing his best to help others stranded by the winter storm.

“I can drive a truck — it’s pretty simple,” he added.

Helping others 24/7

Since the winter storm hit, Sivley has been out day and night, rescuing drivers stranded by the winter storm. In just two days (Feb 15 and 16), he rescued 145 cars and he planned to keep going throughout the disaster.

“I’ve been helping anybody I find the side of the road,” he told KVUE, adding that he has the necessary recovery straps and chains because he does a lot of off-roading around Austin.

“[All] I’ve been doing is pulling people off the road and giving people safe rides,” he added.

Doing what must be done

The reason Sivley is helping out is simple: it’s what anyone would want in this situation.

“Well, put yourself in their shoes,” he told KVUE. “If you were sitting on the side of the road with your wife and your kids and you’re freezing in the car, and it’s not running and you don’t have anywhere to go and you don’t have anyone to call, what do you do?”

“I’ve seen wreckers turning people away because they won’t pull them out due to liability,” Sivley continued. “You need to stay in your car and just freeze to death? If I was in that spot, I would beg and hope that somebody would help me. So that’s what I’m doing.”

A guardian angel

Jill Ventimiglia was one of the people Sivley helped.

She was trying to visit her parents just a few miles away, but ended up stuck in the snow.

Then Sivley arrived with his six-wheel truck. “It was so scary but an angel, Ryan Sivley, saved me and 98 other people from being stranded in the road,” Ventimiglia wrote in a Facebook post. “IF HE WASN’T THERE I WOULD STILL BE STUCK ON THE ROAD.”

Repayment isn’t necessary, but it would be nice

Sivley says people are giving him “like five or 10 bucks for gas,” but wouldn’t mind if he got more of a reward.

“This is all I’m doing, just helping out wherever I can,” he told KVUE. “I’m not asking you for anything. If someone helps with a few dollars for gas, that’s great.”

But Ventimiglia is campaigning to give him more. She shared Sivley’s Venmo info in another Facebook post, and asked for people to donate $50-$100.


Jill Ventimiglia

Community will carry us through

Just like with the pandemic, the only way Texans are going to get through the winter storm is by helping each other. Fortunately, there are people like Sivley — and this retired army vet delivering cooked meals to truckers — putting that into practice.

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