Generosity of two BPD officers likely saved local woman’s life


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Donna Robbins had an unthinkable 2020.

About a month after her brother died, Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer. And as the world closed because of the pandemic, the bills started coming in — funeral expenses, payments for treatment, court backlogs.

Then her stove broke. And her water heater soon followed.

She was out of money, out of luck, and running out of time.

“I can’t do anything. All the bills are coming in,” Robbins remembered about the first few months of 2020, a retired international recording artist, born and raised in Buffalo.

It stayed that way for months, until about two months ago.

Then, a late-winter miracle. Two of them actually. Dressed in blue — and as Donna puts it — wearing red capes.

“You don’t find people like that in the world anymore. You really don’t,” Robbins said.

C-District officers Andrea Anderson and Ashunti McClain showed up in Donna’s life, on her doorstep, and likely saved it.

“She said, ‘what do you need in this house? I said I have no stove, no hot water tank. And she said, Ok, I’ll take care of it.”

“There are people struggling,” Anderson said. “I do believe that us as police officers can help, everybody can help. It takes a village.”

Anderson bought Donna a new oven and water heater. McClain installed them.

“I just think we have a similar understanding about helping people,” McClain said. “That was a great feeling. A real great feeling.”

Giving back is what drives officers Anderson and McClain. Their chief admits this isn’t the first time. And it won’t be the last.

“They don’t want any media, they don’t want anything for it. It’s just what’s in their heart,” said C District Chief Alphonso Wright.

Want more proof?

“She will call, at least once or twice a week. How are you doing? How are you feeling? What do you need?” Robbins said of Anderson. “It takes the stress off of having my treatments. I don’t have to worry. And I believe that helps you heal.”

Dave Greber is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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