A woman who saved her parents during last week's severe weather is surprised with the largest prize in the history of the Pay it 4Ward program.
When Kiko Villarreal's parents' home went up in flames during last week's severe weather, instinct kicked in.
The Lord put me there for a reason, said Kiko. And that was to get them out safely."
Kiko had to physically drag her 90-year-old mother Jesusita off a recliner and out of the smoke-filled house because of her inability to walk on her own.
Her 86-year-old father, Candelario, who's handicapped as well, refused to leave the burning home without the love of his life.
My mom wouldn't have been able to get out by herself and my dad would never be able to get her out, said Kiko. He was not willing to exit the house if she was not out first." While the home, nearly 4 decades old, is a total loss, her parents are alive and well.
Kiko's co-worker, Terri De La Rosa, calls her a hero.
"It made me want to cry, it gave me goose bumps, said Terri. It made me love her even more than I do and made me want to do something for her. She is a hero and if anybody deserves this money|She deserves this money."
Pronto Insurance gives the Pay it 4Ward prize to Kiko to award.
The hail storms devastated a lot of the upper valley, said Laura Varela. And to hear stories of heroism really inspires Pronto Insurance and Action 4 News. On behalf of Pronto Insurance, the tax division, here is $400 to Pay it 4Ward.
Richard's Pharmacy in Alton is where Kiko works at times.
She was at the office Thursday afternoon under the impression there was an important work meeting.
It was all part of the Pay it 4Ward surprise.
That TMs where Action 4 News stepped in.
Ryan: I TMm looking for Kiko.
Kiko: That's me... Kiko.
Ryan: I'm Ryan Wolf with Action 4 News... You look surprised to see me...
Kiko: I am surprised
Ryan: I'm here because I heard of your acts of heroism... And it has inspired your co-workers to say something very special to you.
Terri: You TMre a hero to us for saving your parents lives in the fire. On behalf of Pronto Insurance and Action 4 News, we want to Pay it 4Ward| $100, $200, $300, $400!
Kiko: Thank you! I feel so humbled and so honored at the same time.
Kiko's selflessness doesn't go unnoticed, especially by her boss, Jaime Barrera.
She'll literally take the shirt off her back to help somebody out, said Jaime. Once I heard that this was happening, I'm more than happy to match what Pronto is doing."
The $400 prize instantly turned to $800.
Kiko: I TMm overwhelmed... I don't know what to say...Just that you guys are wonderful and everybody I work with is wonderful.
It's money to get her mom and dad back on their feet.
Kiko TMs advice to others since nearly losing her parents is to cherish every moment and to live and love life.
Putting the safety of others before yourself is one more way to Pay it 4Ward.
Kiko said her parents aren't materialistic, but even with home insurance, the $800 will go a long way with helping them to rebuild their lives.