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Ohio students meet snow ‘angel’ in Hamburg

Maralyse Raedel hoped to spend her 21st birthday in Niagara Falls, Ont. Instead she wound up at a gas station and motel on Camp Road.

Charles Miller hoped to be in Liverpool to drop off his truckload. Instead he wound up being a savior of sorts for three women he did not know.

Raedel and her friends, Hope Clingan and Alyssa Seman, were headed to Niagara Falls, Ont. to celebrate the birthday and see the falls, when their vehicle became stuck at a Mobil gas station in Hamburg around 1 p.m. Tuesday. After hours of milling around with little hope during the massive snowstorm, the three Cuyahoga Community College students decided to grab their bags and walk about a mile to a Quality Inn.

One problem: In part because of a jackknifed tractor-trailer, there was no easy access to the motel from Camp Road. The only way was to climb a towering snowbank, something the tiny Clingan could not manage.

Miller came to the rescue, emerging from his nearby truck to scoop her up and carry her over the snowbank.

“He was our angel,” Seman said. “This is really an angel story.”

“How could I sit by?” said Miller of Williamsport, Md. “These girls were not ready for winter at all, out there cold and struggling with bags.”

The three never made it to Canada, but they are planning another trip -- for the summer this time.

“We have never met such nice people who are so helpful,” Seman said, “but we don’t ever want to be in Buffalo again.”

Seman and her friends freed their vehicle from the Mobil lot Wednesday morning with the station’s owner lending a hand. Unsure about where to go with the Thruway closed, they parked in front of Miller’s rig on the side of Camp Road.

After settling on a plan to return to Cleveland via 20 West, all three embraced Miller before heading on their way.

Miller, after spending over 24 hours in his well-stocked cab, opted Wednesday afternoon to find an alternate route to Liverpool.

- Geoff Nason