Freezing woman, 80, says Durham officer 'saved her life'

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A Durham police officer went out of his way to help an elderly resident stay warm safely.

The story ABC11 posted Tuesday about a Durham police officer who bought a space heater for an elderly woman who was using her oven to heat her house proved immensely popular on social media.

ABC11 wanted to talk to that officer, Andrew Wilkinson, on Wednesday, but he didn't want the spotlight on his small act of kindness toward this 80-year-old woman.

But that woman, Barbara Longcrier, said he was "an angel."

Longcrier said she called 911 but was told they could not do anything. They did say they'd call someone to help her.

"About 10 minutes later the phone (rang), I answered and it was the police station," Longcrier said.

ORIGINAL STORY: Durham police officer buys heater for elderly woman

A little while later, she said there was a knock at the door. It was Wilkinson.

"He said 'is this Barbara Longcrier?' I said 'yes it is,' " Longcrier said. "He said 'could you come to the door, I have your heater.' I said, 'Oh my God, yes I can.' So I came to the door and there he stood with a heater."

Longcrier said Wilkinson even plugged it in to check to make sure that it worked and was safe.

"Officer Wilkinson, you are one of the nicest most wonderful people I have ever met in my life," Longcrier said. "And you saved my life. He did. I would have frozen to death."

Officer Wilkinson went above and beyond his responsibilities during the ice storm Monday. He was called to the home to check on the elderly woman, and when he saw that she was heating her home with an oven, that's when he bought her a space heater.

"People say such bad things about police, and he was a policeman and he was wonderful," Longcrier said. "So I want him to be commended for it. I didn't do anything but get warm after he brought me the heater."

Wilkinson, who has been with the force since 2011, was indeed commended by DPD for going above and beyond " keep her safe and warm in the middle of a freezing rain storm."

Need more proof that Officer Wilkinson is one of the good guys? In 2014, he received a Certificate of Merit for saving a woman's life.

Wilkinson was one of the first responders to a shoplifting call at a Kroger in July 2013 when a man flagged down officers.

A female passenger in the car was unresponsive, had turned blue and was not breathing.

Wilkinson and fellow officer Dakota Beck performed rescue breathing and chest compression. By the time, Durham County EMS arrived, the officers had gotten a heartbeat and the woman survived what turned out to be a cardiac arrest.

And recently, he was named Employee of the Month.

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