GoFundMe Raises Money for Heroic Homeless Woman

GoFundMe Raises Money for Heroic Homeless Woman title=
Rebecca Neal and her 2-year-old dog Bella (courtesy photo)
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By the edhat staff

An online fundraiser has been set up for Rebecca Neal, a local homeless woman who helped rescue man from a burning vehicle on Highway 154 last month.

Neal and her two-year-old dog Bella were driving near Paradise Road on the evening of November 17. She ended up being one of the first people on the scene of a vehicle rollover leaving the driver trapped.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department reported a vehicle crashed, rolled, and caught on fire. The vehicle became fully engulfed with fire and spread to nearby vegetation. The single occupant male driver was pulled from the vehicle by a female bystander, Fire Captain Scott Safechuck stated.

The Independent reports, witnesses saw two men working to free the driver but the fire grew and the men backed away with burn injuries. The driver was able to free himself through the windshield when Neal arrived and helped pull the driver to safety. She grabbed water bottles from her car to put out the fire on the lower half of the driver's body. She then stayed with the driver to keep him conscious until firefighters arrived.

Captain Safechuck stated the driver sustained serious burn injuries and was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in critical condition and Neal was transported for smoke inhalation and minor burn injuries.

Neal, who graduated from local schools from Roosevelt Elementary through UC Santa Barbara, fell on hard times in recent years and has been living out of her car. She was released from the hospital 12 hours after arriving and still has ongoing health struggles.

Randal Jackson, a man at the scene of the crash, took care of Neal's dog Bella and car while she was in the hospital. He's since started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Neal's healthcare treatment and living costs.

"Rebecca does not suffer from any form of addiction, but she has PTSD from her past experiences. Her car is unreliable and she needs further medical attention for her smoke inhalation and other issues. We are asking for small contributions to help this local hero get a better vehicle and get back on her feet," Jackson wrote.

So far the page has raised over $22,000 for Neal with contributors leaving warm messages of hope and thanks, many calling her a hero.

"Thank you for your selfless act! You truly are a remarkably brave and good human," one wrote. 

About a week after being released from the hospital, Neal had a high fever and laryngitis due to complications from smoke inhalation. She and Bella were able to spend a couple of nights in a local motel while she recovered, Jackson reported.

Additionally, a local car dealership has offered to repair and perform maintenance work on her vehicle and others have come forward with potential opportunities for employment.

The driver who sustained serious burns is expected to make a full recovery.

Donations can be made to the fundraising page here.

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bicyclist Dec 23, 2022 07:05 PM
GoFundMe Raises Money for Heroic Homeless Woman

"Rebecca Neal and her dog Bella were surprised with a brand new car from Kirby Subaru of Ventura after she heroically helped save a man's life." I just ran across this story & couldn't find any kind of timestamp/date, but sounds like Liz and Randal pulled this off being Subaru owners themselves. She looks elated in the video! : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/homeless-woman-surprised-with-new-car-for-saving-man-s-life-during-accident/ar-AA15CqzT?cvid=c63b0f71ce064c3ebc91cf32818e47dd
I was going fora feel good story, hope this was OK to post here!

markpat Dec 06, 2022 08:35 AM
GoFundMe Raises Money for Heroic Homeless Woman

I would like to see the queue for public housing jumped so that our local homeless hero can have a home for herself and her pet. This can be done! A number of years ago, for example, a local homeless couple were badly beaten on the beach - so badly that the man succumbed to his kidney and spine injuries several years later. A number of us had worked hard to get them put ahead on the housing queue which at the time was only for singles. In order for them to start their long recuperation, the District Attorney's office, in this case, helped us jump the queue. We just need to find the right office to help.

SBSand Dec 06, 2022 05:18 AM
GoFundMe Raises Money for Heroic Homeless Woman

Love this follow-up story! She, and others, really risked themselves to save this man and it is also great to see that he is expected to recover. It is also heartwarming to see the help that she is receiving and I hope that she is able to use that help to change her life, and not just to continue sleeping in her car but to change her circumstances and have car sleeping being in her rearview mirror.

RHS Dec 05, 2022 06:10 PM
GoFundMe Raises Money for Heroic Homeless Woman

It is nice to see people respond so positively to this person's circumstances. But please keep in mind that she was driving from SB to find a safe place to sleep in her car when she came upon this. This is sad but not unique. Dozens of homeless people sleep in cars and RVs and under cartons wherever they can find a moment of privacy. A good portion of these folks are in their situation without much fault on their part. Please be kinder and more gentle to their straits as well.

sacjon Dec 05, 2022 04:45 PM
GoFundMe Raises Money for Heroic Homeless Woman

This is a great story! So glad to see such an outpouring of kindness, gratitude an support for Ms. Neal. Just goes to show.... not all homeless people are alike. It would be good for everyone to keep that in mind.

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