Lisa Norwood knows how important HERO is. At about 12:20 p.m. Dec. 14, 2007, a car struck and killed her husband while he was cleaning debris from Sabo Street near Almeda Mall. Harold Norwood, 44, was a Public Works and Engineering employee.

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 donated $2,000 to her for other incidental expenses she might need. 

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 Lis with additional funds to help relieve her financial burden. 

They couldn't bring her husband bak, but their actions parted the clouds enough to hep her get through the dar days an insured that her dignity was preserved. 

"HERO is the best thing they could have done for city employees," Norwood said. "When your'e going through something like that, you need someone there to help your. You're not thinking clearly about what you need to do. So having that help meant so much to me.

HERO contributions helped Lisa pay for immediate needs, to pay off debts, and was the financial burden created by her husband's death.

"I can't imagine what would it would have been like to not have HERO there to help me."