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People Taking Action: Local woman caught on camera taking action for storm victim!

People Taking Action: Local woman caught on camera taking action for storm victim!
Posted at 5:46 PM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 18:20:15-04

NORFOLK, Va. - "I ran downstairs to check on my boyfriend, and then we hear pounding on the door and screaming."

Ashleigh Gagnon remembers those screams that prompted her to take action for a woman after a tree fell on her Norfolk apartment. It happened earlier this month during Hurricane Dorian.

The woman Ashleigh helped, Tamika Proctor, was next door, and Proctor is so grateful.

Ashleigh Gagnon receives a People Taking Action award from News 3 anchor Kurt Williams

"I will never forget that, ever! I just thank God that I'm here right now because I could've died."

It was indeed a close call when the huge tree came crashing down. Ashleigh's response to the pounding on the door of her boyfriend's apartment and screams was captured on a doorbell security camera.

Ashleigh literally sprang into action, jumping over a railing that separates the two units and rushing inside to help.

"I don't know, it's kind of a blur.... I can't remember exactly what was going through my mind, to be honest with you. I don't think I was thinking. I think I was acting on pure adrenaline and instinct. Somebody was yelling for help - you go help!"

Ashleigh says it was a total mess when she went inside.

"I see insulation everywhere. I look up and there's like a beam hanging like it's about to fall. I hear a tree kind of still shifting...if you go into that room and you see how bad the damage is and how it's completely destroyed, I don't know how they survived."

Ashleigh credits her upbringing for how she instinctively got involved.

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"I grew up, and I was always taught to help other people. [If] you're raised the right way, you get raised to help those when they're struggling or in trouble."

And that's what she did. But on top of her quick response, Ashleigh started a GoFundMe for Tamika.

Ashleigh is touched by how the community has responded.

"Because people aren't just donating money; they're reaching out and they're saying, 'Hey I have these items. I have mattresses, I have women's clothing.'"

For jumping into action and not stopping there, News 3 presented a People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

She was very thankful but had a question.

"Oh my God! Oh my God... what about Tamika? She would need this more than I would."

It's not surprising that was Ashleigh's reaction after seeing how she sprang into action - entering a potentially dangerous situation to help out.

If you would like to contribute to Tamika's go-fund-me page to help her get back on her feet, click here.

Do you know someone who's worthy of a People Taking Action award? Click here to nominate them!