HERO was created in November 2007. Within the next month, it would be put to good use.
On Dec. 14, 2007, Harold Norwood, 44 and a seven-year veteran of the Public Works & Engineering Department, was struck and killed by a car while cleaning debris from Sabo Street near Almeda Mall.
Three days later, members of the HERO board of directors showed up at her door. They offered her shoulders to cry on and steady guidance navigating bureaucratic waters during that traumatic time. But they wanted to do more. Although the city of Houston provides for burial expenses, HERO immediately provided $2,500 to her for other incidental expenses she might need for the funeral.
After things settled down, the HERO Benefits Committee reviewed her financial condition and made a recommendation to the board that was approved. HERO then provided Lisa with additional help relieve her financial burden.
We couldn’t bring her husband back, but our actions parted the clouds enough to help her get through the dark days with her dignity preserved.
“HERO is the best thing they could have done for city employees,” Lisa said. “When you’re going through something like that, you need someone there to help you. You’re not thinking clearly about what you need to do. So having that help meant so much to me.
“I can’t imagine what it would have been like to not have HERO there to help me.”