Helpful Was Her Only Gear
Early on the morning of Sept. 11, Corey Wilson took the phone when he heard that Sandra Campbell was calling from work. The 5-year-old wanted his godmother to know how much he liked the book bag she bought him for school. The response so pleased her, she told the boy's mother, "I'm going to buy him two more."
Helping those around her was "just Sandra," said Gladys Anderson, one of Ms. Campbell's aunts.
Though Ms. Campbell, 45, made a good living working for Cantor Fitzgerald as a computer programmer, she was one of those people who didn't go on vacations and made do with last year's coat. Whatever she had went to friends and her daughter, Ebony, who had just begun sophomore year at the University of Hartford.
Ms. Campbell's mother, Lendora Kearse, received $150 every month from her daughter for blood-pressure medication.
In Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where Ms. Campbell lived, her car was at everyone's service. "If I told her someone was in the hospital, she went," said Jacksie Smith, a friend. "The people didn't even know her, and by the time she walked out the door, they knew her."
One Saturday a month was "Aunts' Day," when she treated her aunts to a day of errands and shopping. Once Ms. Anderson casually mentioned that she needed something for the house. Ms. Campbell appeared soon afterward. She had found a Home Depot in the Bronx that was open till midnight. Ms. Campbell had scheduled another "Aunts' Day" for the Saturday after Sept. 11.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 15, 2001.