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When the weather forecast called for up to eight inches of snow in their New Jersey community, brothers Brian and Patrick Lanigan immediately thought of their neighbor Natalie Blair.
She depends on dialysis treatments – and that meant the snowstorm could be a life or death situation.
Brian, who works as a local EMT, had shoveled the Blair family’s driveway during a storm just a few days earlier, but he knew this time he would be on the job when the snowstorm struck.
It was up to his little brother Patrick to ensure their neighbor would be able to leave her house for the treatment she desperately needs.
Knowing time was of the essence, Patrick opened up his contact list and started reaching out to friends to help out.
Four of his fellow Parsippany High School seniors answered the call and volunteered to spend the night at the Lanigan house just to wake up and start shoveling at 4:30 a.m.
With everyone working together, it took less than 30 minutes to clear the fresh fallen snow.
While they hoped the storm would force their town to cancel classes, they ended up with a two-hour delayed opening, giving them just enough time to rest up before heading to school.
The world might not have known about this simple act of kindness if Patrick’s father Peter Lanigan hadn’t tweeted out a photo.
That tweet, he told CNN, humbled Patrick with all of the attention it generated.
Peter said this act of kindness was not at all out of character for his son and described him as a “small kid with a big heart.”
Shoveling snow is not the only way Patrick helps his community: he is active in his church and at school Patrick is a “peer buddy,” serving as a role model for students on the autism spectrum.