updated 2/10/2011 5:59:28 PM ET 2011-02-10T22:59:28

With Tulsa buried by its snowiest winter on record and few snowplows in sight, an army of citizens has stepped in where the city failed, putting plows on their pickups to clear streets, checking on senior citizens and even lining up behind stalled cars to push them up highway ramps.

The city has been hit by three winter blasts in less than a week, and many streets are still choked with snow. With cleanup efforts moving slowly, if at all, ordinary people took matters into their own hands to help dig out.

Last week, the first blast dumped 14 inches on Tulsa and more than 20 inches on other cities in northeastern Oklahoma.

When the snow and wind finally stopped, Pastor Shannon Watterson and three friends loaded up his truck with shovels and groceries and headed out.

For three days, they helped anyone they could find. They took folks who were caught flat-footed by the storm to Wal-Mart to stock up on essentials. They shoveled cars and trucks out of ditches.

They came across one stranded driver on the Broken Arrow Expressway trying to use a garden hoe to get himself out of a snow bank. Seven or eight cars whizzed past him without stopping.

"It was amazing how people would not stop and help the guy," Watterson said. "Why wouldn't people spend just a little bit of time to help other people?"

But don't call Watterson a hero. "We were just having a good time," he said.

It was the Golden Rule that tugged on plant manager Brian Maher last week, when he bought a small tractor and had to drive it through several neighborhoods to reach his house across town.

On his four-hour trek back, he helped plow the parking lot of the local Habitat for Humanity. Then he saw an older man shoveling his driveway who told him that his next-door neighbor had just suffered a stroke and could use some help. So Maher cleared that driveway, too.

Maher wasn't finished. He plowed his way home, clearing an estimated 20 to 30 driveways, including his neighbor's house and his whole street.

Maher shrugged off his generosity, saying he always tries to consider the needs of people around him.

"Everyone finds themselves where they need help sometimes," he said. "What goes around comes around."

Other drivers put slow blades on their trucks. And on the slickest roads, it was not uncommon to see drivers pull over, gather behind a stalled vehicle and attempt to push it out of the snow or up the next exit ramp.

Dozens of citizens called the Volunteer Central of Greater Tulsa this past week, looking for ways they could help. Many with four-wheel-drive vehicles were connected with organizations that delivered meals and groceries to senior citizens.

Brenda Michael Haggard, director of the nonprofit, was heartened by the turnout.

"Some of the calls we received were, 'I want to do something, how can I help?'" Haggard said. "Our entire community is impacted when someone steps out and helps someone else."

At St. John Hospital near downtown, a group of security guards — without being asked — rented four-wheel-drive vehicles to transport dozens of stranded patients and employees back to their homes.

When Tuesday's storm dumped several more inches on Tulsa, members of teenager Josh Beasley's rock band went door-to-door, offering to shovel driveways and storefronts for whatever folks could afford.

"It's cool because some people couldn't get to work and now they can," said Beasley, a high school freshman. "You get to drive around and see all the places you've been. We're going to go out as long as we don't have school."

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