Greater Cleveland Heroes – 2020

Breakfast ceremony held at the Global Center for Health Innovation

By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

March 13, 2020- Nine people and one Labradoodle were honored at the 2020 Greater Cleveland Hero Awards breakfast on Thursday, March 12, at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland. And Ronn Richard, the President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation was recognized at the Community Leader Award winner.

Read more about the Hero honorees, and the events that led to the recognition below:

  • Sixteen-year-old Elise Kilmer of Burton was in her room with her Labradoodle Saige last November, when suddenly, Saige began to bark continuously. When Elise opened her door, Saige bounded down the stairs to the kitchen. Elise followed, and found her grandmother lying on the floor unresponsive. Elise recalled her American Red Cross training, and applied it during this critical situation. First, she called 9-1-1. Then, she checked for a pulse and began performing CPR, continuing until medical personnel arrived. Her grandmother credits Elise with saving her life. Elise is also a Red Cross-trained lifeguard.  She was also presented with a Certificate of Merit, the highest award the American Red Cross offers to someone who used their Red Cross training to save a life. Watch Elise’s story here.
Elise Kilmer

Elise Kilmer

  • Cleveland Heights Police Officer Josh Robertson, the first to arrive at the scene of a home fire in July, was told by a distressed mother that her 6-year-old son was trapped inside. Disregarding the heavy smoke inside the home, and without the benefit of any protective clothing or equipment, Robertson pushed his way into the home and crawled on the floor in an effort to find the boy. He couldn’t see the child, but he heard the sound of moaning and followed it until he felt the boy, grabbing him by his clothes and dragging the child to safety, despite being overcome by smoke. He and the child survived. Watch Josh’s story here.
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Josh Robertson with Regional CEO Mike Parks and Greater Cleveland Chapter Board of Directors Chairman Chris Mapes

  • Sandra Patrick of KeyBank has played a crucial role in helping meet the demand for blood, which is vital to the survival of hospital patients undergoing surgery, cancer treatment and other medical conditions. Patrick has organized blood drives at two KeyBank office locations for more than 10 years, and she has been instrumental in increasing sponsorship and participation. She is currently the point of contact with the Red Cross for 12 different blood drives, and recently expanded the drives to include other building tenants. Beyond her management of blood drives, Patrick has also recruited other KeyBank employees to help with Sound the Alarm, the Red Cross initiative to save lives by installing free smoke alarms. Watch Sandra’s story here.
Sandra Patrick

Sandra Patrick

  • On the morning of Thursday, Sept. 19, a Jack Casino surveillance team member was working when he went into full cardiac arrest. Within a minute, coworker Charles Fuller called for assistance and began administering CPR. Less than a minute later, security training instructor Jacqueline Duthie arrived to assist, and within a minute of that, security manager Hassan Ali arrived with an AED. It was the first time he had been called to use the lifesaving device since receiving CPR/AED training four years earlier. Fuller, Duthie and Ali continued to provide medical attention until paramedics arrived. The stricken coworker survived, and doctors confirmed that without the immediate lifesaving response, the outcome most likely would have been much different. Watch Charles, Jacqueline and Hassan’s story here.
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Charles Fuller, Jacqueline Duthie and Hassan Ali

  • Amanda Berry endured one of the most horrific experiences imaginable, being held captive for 10 years after being kidnapped at age 16. But she never lost hope, and 10 years later, she and her toddler daughter escaped their prison, and helped lead two other female captives to freedom as well. Since that time, Berry has dedicated her life to raising her daughter, and to help find missing persons who may be experiencing the same horrors she did. She appears on Fox 8 News, looking into a camera, describing those who have gone missing, and asking viewers for help finding them. Berry is not a trained broadcaster or news reporter, but she fearlessly puts herself out there to help others, because she genuinely cares about them, even though they are strangers. She knows they all have family members who are awaiting their return—just as her family members did. Despite her traumatic past, Berry is making the most of her present, and is looking forward to a bright future for herself, her daughter and others she may have a role in helping return home. Watch Amanda’s story here.
Amanda Barry

Amanda Berry

  • Nine-year-old Troy Cavadas of Columbia Station was watching his dad try to burn a tree stump with kerosene outside their home in early November when fuel splashed on them both, setting their clothes on fire. Troy had just learned how to stop, drop and roll at school less than a month earlier. He didn’t panic and was able to put the flames out on his clothing. He then yelled, “Roll, Daddy, roll, roll!” But the fire kept growing. Troy then grabbed a garden hose and soaked his dad with water until the flames went out. Firefighters call Troy a hero.
  • Part two of this hero story involves the firefighter who taught Troy the fire safety skills that helped save him and his dad. Columbia Township volunteer firefighter Brett Wilson visited Troy’s school just one week before the 23-year-old firefighter lost his life trying to help two people involved in a car crash. Wilson was electrocuted after coming into contact with a downed power line. Troy’s father, Jed, credits Wilson with saving his life. Brett’s parents, Barb and Gary Wilson, accepted the award on behalf of their hero son. Watch Troy and Brett’s story here.
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Troy Cavadas and Brett Wilson’s parents Barb and Gary accepting the award from Regional CEO Mike Parks and Greater Cleveland Chapter Board of Directors Chairman Chris Mapes

 

Ronn Richard’s Community Leader Award was presented by Regional Red Cross CEO Mike Parks, and Chris Mapes, President and CEO of Lincoln Electric and Chairman of the Red Cross of Greater Cleveland.

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Ronn Richard accepting the Community Leader Award from Mike Parks and Chris Mapes

The event was hosted by long-time Cleveland television journalist Denise Dufala.

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Denise Dufala with Chris Mapes

To nominate a hero for the next Hero Awards, complete the online form.

Visit our Flickr page to view more photos from the 2020 Greater Cleveland Chapter Heroes and Community Leader Award.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Heroes honored for ‘Acts of Courage’ in Akron

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross volunteer

March 6, 2020- I’ve had the privilege of serving on the board for  the Summit, Portage and Medina County Red Cross for nine years. As part of that, I’ve been honored to emcee the annual Acts of Courage and H. Peter Burg Community Leadership Award event with my co-host and husband, radio personality Tim Daugherty.

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Sue Wilson and Tim Daugherty

Acts of Courage honors individuals who have shown extraordinary courage, compassion, character, and humanity. These stories never cease to have a profound effect on me and every single person in the room.

The 24th annual Acts of Courage honored the following individuals:

Matt Martincin and Chris Deeks

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Matt Martincin and Chris Deeks with Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter Executive Director Rachel Telegdy

As smoke billowed from a second-floor apartment building, early in the morning of June 12, 2019, Medina police officers Matt Martincin and Chris Deeks arrived to see two women trapped in an apartment. Despite having a smoke alarm in the apartment, there were no batteries in the alarm.

After attempts to have the women jump failed, Matt and Chris found a ladder on the back of a contractor’s vehicle and used the ladder to rescue the two women and all seven of their pets.

Here is Chris and Matt’s story:

Gregg Whiteman

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Gregg Whiteman with Rachel Telegdy

What began as an ordinary day at GOJO headquarters in Akron, quickly turned to anything but ordinary.

While in a meeting, Gregg Whiteman received a call from a colleague. Realizing how unusual it was to receive a call from someone who knew he was in a meeting, Gregg answered his phone. He quickly realized that something was wrong and that the co-worker needed his assistance.

Remaining on the phone, Gregg was able to gather the proper information to realize exactly where his colleague was, despite his inability to speak coherently.

Thanks to his persistence, Gregg was not only able to find his co-worker lying on the floor of an office, behind a closed door, but his quick response and immediate call to 911 ensured that the co-worker in need was able to be taken to the hospital, where he was given medication to prevent permanent damage from the stroke he was suffering.

Here is Gregg’s story:

Brian Linder

At the end of a workday in downtown Akron, Brian Linder was walking across the skywalk to the garage to go home. As he was hurrying along to avoid the frigid February cold, Brian spotted an individual unconscious and not breathing.

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Rachel Telegdy with Brian Linder

Having just completed a CPR refresher course a few months prior, Brian began to administer CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene.

Here is Brian’s Story:

Jacob Thompson

On February 24, 2019, there was a high wind advisory for drivers. That day, Jacob Thompson was returning to the Kent State University campus following United States Coast Guard drill training in Port Clinton, Ohio.

As he was driving, the high wind took hold of a trailer and threw a semi-truck that was driving in front of Jacob into the center guardrail.

Jacob immediately pulled his vehicle to the side of the road. Upon approaching the vehicle, he was able to see the driver alive, but confused and unable to get out. Jacob then began to remove the top and debris from the truck in order to access the cab so he could pull the driver to safety from the overturned vehicle.

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Jacob is currently deployed on active duty and was unable to attend the event. However, prior to deploying, Jacob was able to receive his award and taped an acceptance video, which was shown during the evening’s activities.

Paul Diven

In October, Stan Hywet maintenance worker Paul Diven saw a crowd gathering during the annual Ohio Mart arts fair. When he made his way to the commotion, he noticed volunteer Bruce DeBarr, who requires oxygen, not breathing.

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Rachel Telegdy with Paul Diven

Understanding time was of the essence, Paul began to troubleshoot to find the issue with Bruce’s oxygen tank. Once Paul spotted that a part was installed incorrectly, he properly installed the part and began to hear the oxygen flowing, helping Bruce regain consciousness. Once Bruce made a full recovery, Paul returned to work at Ohio Mart.

Doug Price, Marcus Council and Barb Fisher

On May 9, 2019, the Akron Fire Department responded to a home fire, with reports of a child trapped in a basement.

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Marcus Council and Doug Price with Rachel Telegdy

With the home engulfed in flames and the basement full of smoke, Akron firefighters Lt. Doug Price and Marcus Council entered the home in search of the young girl. Despite low visibility, Doug was able to find the child unconscious and lying on the ground and covered. Doug and Marcus removed the child from the burning home. She was transported to the hospital, where she was able to regain consciousness and make a full recovery.

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Barb Fisher with Rachel Telegdy

It was later determined that the child remembered the fire safety instructions she was taught a week earlier by her teacher Barb Fisher, ultimately helping to save her life.

Here is Doug, Marcus and Barb’s story:

Jason Strunk, Leslie Snyder and Seth Bond

While waiting at a red light on his way to helping an elderly family friend grocery shop in Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood, Jason Strunk heard gunfire ring out in the street. That is when Jason saw a mother being shot by her boyfriend, while trying to protect her three children, including an infant.

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Jason Strunk with Rachel Teledgy

Without hesitation, Jason jumped out of his car and began to wrestle with the armed individual. At this time, Leslie Snyder and Seth Bond arrived and witnessed what was happening. Seth began to assist Jason in trying to apprehend the shooter, while Leslie attended to the injured mother and her children.

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Seth Bond and Leslie Snyder with Rachel Telegdy

During the exchange, the shooter’s gun jammed. As the shooter returned to his vehicle to find and return with a knife, Jason grabbed the two older children and placed them in his car, while Leslie placed the mother and baby in her car, while applying pressure to the mother’s wounds. Jason and Leslie were able to drive the family to safety until first responders and paramedics arrived.

Here is Jason, Leslie and Seth’s story:

Each of these  stories share one common theme: that the people involved don’t consider themselves “heroes.” And THEY are the ones who are grateful for being able to help someone.  Wow.

Another highlight of this event is  the H. Peter Burg Community Leadership Award, presented to those who best exemplify Pete Burg’s leadership qualities, his compassion for people and his dedication to the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross. This year’s award recipient is Steve Hendricks.

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Steve Hendricks receiving the award from Rachel Telegdy and H. Peter Burg’s daughter Amy Burg Cole

Steve is market president of the Northeast Ohio region for S&T Bank. He served on the Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina Counties board of directors for 9 years and held many leadership positions including board president. After terming off the board, he remains active with the chapter, serving on multiple committees and engaging his team at S&T Bank in Sound the Alarm events throughout the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties. In addition to his Red Cross work, Hendricks serves on multiple boards throughout the area, including the Akron Area YMCA board of trustees. He is also a graduate of Leadership Akron, Class 25

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Akron Area YMCA performing “What a Wonderful World”

Among the tributes honoring Steve, children from the Akron Area YMCA youth program surprised Steve with a performance where they used American Sign Language to sing “What a Wonderful World.”

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The festivities came to an end with a visit by the Akron Fire Department’s fire pup mascot and Northeast Ohio Region Program Disaster Program Officer Tim O’Toole sharing with all those in attendance the importance of smoke alarms and home fire escape plans.

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Tim O’Toole

You too can be a local hero. If you are interested in taking a Red Cross training, such as CPR, life guarding and babysitting, please visit redcross.org/take-a-class to see upcoming classes and to register.

You can also be a hero to someone in need by donating life saving blood. Visit RedCrossBlood.org to find a blood drive near you and to schedule an appointment to give now.

To view more photos from the Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter Acts of Courage event, visit the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio’s Flickr page.

Wanted: Northeast Ohio Heroes

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

October 2, 2019- Do you know a community member who entered a burning home to rescue a trapped family? A passerby who pulled a drowning child to safety? A neighbor who administered CPR or abdominal thrusts to a total stranger? A dog that alerted its family to a fire? Then the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio needs your help!

The Greater Cleveland Chapter and the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter 46405978995_5834726541_cwill once again honor local individuals in 2020 who displayed extraordinary courage to become someone’s hero.

The Red Cross is asking for assistance from local communities to help identify ordinary people who have placed themselves in harm’s way or have even risked their own lives to save another.

Greater Cleveland Chapter

Nominees must reside or work within Cuyahoga, Lake or Geauga County. The heroic deed must have occurred in either 2018 or 2019.

Those individuals selected as heroes will be honored at the Greater Cleveland Heroes award breakfast at the Global Center for Health Innovation, 1 St. Clair Ave. NE, Cleveland, Ohio 44114, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, at 8:15 am.

Click here to learn more about the 2018 Greater Cleveland Hero award winners.

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Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter

Nominees must reside or work within Portage, Medina or Summit County and must have performed the heroic act in 2019.

All submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee. Individuals selected will be honored as local heroes at the Acts of Courage Awards ceremony to be held at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn on Thursday, March 5, 2020.

To learn more about the 2019 Acts of Courage award winners and their extraordinary stories, click here.

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To nominate a hero, visit redcross.org/neoheroes.

The deadline to submit nominations for the Greater Cleveland Chapter and the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter awards is December 31, 2019.

Hometown heroes honored by American Red Cross of Stark and Muskingum Lakes at annual event

By Amiti Sharma

May 21, 2019- On May 2, the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross held its annual Hometown Heroes BASH in downtown Canton, Ohio, at the Cultural Center for the Arts. The event was created to honor local residents for their accomplishments in demonstrating compassion, selflessness and courage during emergency situations. These individuals managed to take the appropriate action in extremely urgent, time-sensitive matters by relying on their knowledge, contacting local authorities, administering first aid and more.

Members of the Red Cross community throughout Stark and Tuscarawas counties attended and participated in the evening wine pull and silent auction. After attendees spent time mingling, dinner was served, and the program recognizing individuals began.

This event honored the following:

Thomas Smith III, Jason Saylor, and Jennifer Bethal  – These police officers and dispatcher came to the aid of a local mother who was on her way to the emergency room with her two-year-old daughter when she had to pull over after the child began to have a seizure. The officers not only arrived at the scene quickly, but they transported the mother and her infant daughter to the emergency room in their police vehicle, saving valuable time since no emergency vehicle was available.

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Aribella Wetrich – Upon seeing her grandmother experience a medical episode of nausea and dizziness, the four-year-old girl dialed 9-1-1 and contacted the local police.

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Sabrina Seal – Sabrina supports and cares for persons with disabilities as a member of the Carroll County Board of Developmental Disabilities. She was honored for going above and beyond to assist an individual with disabilities by driving him out of state to a safe home to remove him from a potentially abusive environment.

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Bethany Lewis, Erin Hodgson and Gareth Evans – Witnessing a high school football game official collapse on the field, Bethany, Erin and Gareth  teamed up to administer CPR with an AED (automated external defibrillator) while calling an ambulance to transport the official to the hospital, where he ultimately recovered.

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Nick Harper – Nick has designated himself as the handler of K-9 Recon if Sergeant Mike Hickman were to be injured or killed in the line of duty. This will prevent the canine from having to be put down if  there was a situation where the dog is out of the police car and teams are not able to approach Hickman since the dog is trained to not leave his handler’s side.

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Tye Lauener  – Tye, an Alliance police officer, immediately responded to a car accident while off duty by rushing to the driver’s side, directing another driver to contact 9-1-1, attempting to  CPR until the driver became responsive, and finally helping to stabilize her until emergency medical technicians arrived at the scene.

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Jack Liberator – Jack was the recipient of the inaugural Jack B. Liberator Lifetime Community Excellence Award, which was named for him. He was recognized for his early efforts to teach specialized classes in emergency medical care to Columbus fire departments and for developing  the first statewide curriculum in emergency victim care and rescue procedures.

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A special thank you to Hometown Heroes BASH committee members, including chairman Devin Williams for his efforts to organize the event, along with all Red Cross volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time to support and promote Red Cross activities. Additional thanks goes to the Canton Cultural Center, Gather Flower Studio and Lemon Leaf Catering.

Visit our Flickr page to view photos from the 2019 Hometown Heroes BASH.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Greater Cleveland Heroes Honored

It’s fitting, but not intentional, that National Good Samaritan Day fell the day before we honored Greater Cleveland Heroes.

The day is also known as Good Samaritan Involvement Day. It is a day for unselfish actions to help those in need and to celebrate kindness.

The term “Good Samaritan” comes from the Bible parable where a Samaritan helped a stranger who had been robbed and beaten and left to die by the side of the road.  The Samaritan not only cleaned the man’s wounds and clothed him, but took him to an inn where he paid for the man’s care.

The term is used today to describe those who perform acts of kindness for those in need, especially those who are strangers.  Like the seven individuals we honored on March 15.

About 500 people attended the 2018 Greater Cleveland Heroes Award ceremony at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, where the Cleveland Indians received the Community Leader Award.  See our photo album of the event here.

In a nutshell…

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Patrolman Christopher Olup and Sergeant Robert Prochazka

Patrolman Christopher Olup and Sergeant Robert Prochazka of the Willowick Police Department risked their own lives to enter a burning house and pull a disabled man to safety.

 

 

 

Nurse Janine Smalley of the Cleveland VA Medical Center volunteered to treat thousands of veterans in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Gilbert DiSanto of Miceli Dairy used an AED and performed CPR to save the life of a man who had collapsed near the company’s headquarters in Cleveland.

 

 

Dana Walling was a customer at Classic BMW in Willoughby Hills when he helped two wounded police officers subdue a gunman.

Jared Lee of the MetroHealth System improvised by using the drawstring from his scrubs as a tourniquet on a severely injured victim of a car crash.

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John and Jan Durkalski

Jan Durkalski performed CPR and ran for help after her husband collapsed during a run in the Cleveland Metroparks, saving his life.

These seven individuals are the very definition of “Good Samaritans,” and we are proud to honor them for their selfless acts.

See our heroes tell their stories in their own words here.

We honored 12 Heroes earlier this month in Akron, at the 2018 Acts of Courage awards in the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter.  And coming in June, the Acts of Courage awards in Youngstown will honor heroes from our Lake to River Chapter.

 

 

Call for Hero Nominations

On a cool night in early spring, a husband and wife heard screaming coming from outside of their front door. A desperate pounding echoed throughout their home. Opening the door, the man saw his neighbors, holding their week-old baby. The baby was not breathing and his lips had started to turn an unnatural shade of blackish-purple.  While the wife dialed 911, the husband grabbed a nasal aspirator and began infant CPR.

In a few heartbeats, the baby’s tiny cry pierced the stillness.

On a different evening, in a different part of town, a man and his fiancé were sitting at a red light, when he noticed a car coming over the hill. It seemed like the driver was intent on rear-ending him, but at the last moment erratically pulled away. As the car drove past, he could see that the other driver was slumped over.

The vehicle blew out a telephone pole and rolled.

The driver side door was crushed, and through the window the man could see that the driver’s head was twisted. A smell like fluid leaking on the hot engine filled the evening. Carefully, he climbed in and pulled the bloody driver out of the smoking car, cradling his head until first responders appeared.

These are true stories of ordinary people who, when faced with extraordinary circumstances, became heroes.

Each year in Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties, and bi-annually in Greater Cleveland, the Red Cross honors individuals with similar stories to those you just read.

The nomination period is almost over for both events.

Do you know a hero?

For Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties visit redcross.org/neoheroes or click here to nominate them online. Nominees must reside or be employed in Medina, Summit, Portage County. The heroic event must have occurred in 2017, but may have taken place outside of Medina, Summit or Portage Counties. The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2017.

For Greater Cleveland visit redcross.org/cleheroes18. Nominees must reside or be employed in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake or Geauga County. The heroic event must have occurred in 2016 or 2017. The deadline for nominations is January 2, 2018.

Click here to view the co-chairs of the 2018 Greater Cleveland Hero Awards, Elizabeth Allen and Lisa Roberts-Mamone, as they explain the nomination process.

To learn more about our events, including how to sponsor or purchase tickets, visit redcross.org/neoevents and click on the event.

rescuers assisting an unconscious man with cardiac resuscitation

Acts of Courage Recognized, Heroes Honored

They’re all heroes.

Nine “Acts of Courage” and the people who performed those acts have been recognized in the Red Cross Lake to River Chapter, which covers 5 counties in Northeast Ohio, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.  The 2016 Acts of Courage and the Spirit of the Red Cross Award ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 14 at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

Mercy Health-Youngstown and Mercy Health Foundation are this year’s Spirit of the Red Cross award recipients, for best exemplifying leadership in the community, compassion for its people and dedication to the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross. Mercy President Paul Homick was on hand to receive the award.

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Among the heroes honored were ten employees of Molded Fiber Glass, who performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to revive a fallen coworker.

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Linette Derminer was honored for TWO Acts of Courage.  She founded the KEN heart foundation in honor of her son, who died of sudden cardiac arrest while at football practice.  Through the foundation, Linette donates AEDs to various organizations and helps teach schools, coaches and the community about sudden cardiac arrest in young people.  She was also honored for donating a kidney to a police officer, who she met through her work with the foundation.

David Denovchek was also honored for being an organ donor.  He volunteered to donate part of his liver to save the life of a very sick four-year old girl.

 

16-year old Anna Cristo was honored for saving her mom’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver.

Adam Robertson, Jerrod Ladd and Stephanie Bonilla received the Act of Courage award for saving the life of a man at Hollywood Gaming and Mahoning Valley Race Course, by performing the Heimlich and CPR for several minutes until EMTs arrived.

 

Matt Miller and Jack McDonald were also honored for performing CPR, after a softball teammate collapsed during batting practice.

 

Austintown roofers Gary Jones, Chris Denno and Richard Markel received the Acts of Courage Award for pulling two people from a burning car.  Michael Lewis ran into a burning apartment building-several times-to alert his neighbors and to carry one of them out of the building. And Tina Vincenzo was honored for applying first aid and providing comfort to the victim of a car crash who was pinned inside his vehicle.

We congratulate all the winners of the 2016 Acts of Courage Awards. And we thank all Red Cross donors and volunteers who help us fulfill our mission: to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

If you know a hero, someone who without regard to his or her own welfare, acts to help another human being, let us know with an email to contactneo@redcross.org.  And if you’d like to help us continue our mission, by providing emergency assistance to residents who are driven from their homes by fire or floods, or by teaching lifesaving CPR, or helping a member of the military get home in an emergency visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS to donate.  OR text  REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Photo credit: Paul Wadowick, American Red Cross volunteer

Greater Cleveland Heroes Honored

A psychiatric nurse who puts his life on the line to treat his patients.

A FirstEnergy Meter Reader who used his first aid training to help a severely injured man.

A U. S. Army Colonel who commands a medical unit responsible for working in combat zones.

A Patient Navigator who helps adolescent and young adult patients recover from cancer.

A Coast Guard pilot who rescued a mariner after his sailboat was smashed on the Fairport Harbor break wall.

A Cleveland Police Detective and two Patrol Officers who administered life-saving aid to an injured man.

And a miniature horse who brings comfort and joy to hospitalized children.

The 2016 American Red Cross Greater Cleveland Hero Award winners were honored on Friday, March 11 during a luncheon ceremony at the First Merit Cleveland Convention Center.  More than 400 people helped pay tribute to the heroes.  They heard Regional CEO Mike Parks update Red Cross efforts to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. And they saw a video featuring the heroes telling their stories.

Sara Shookman, co-anchor of the 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM news on WKYC TV 3 hosted the ceremony.  Channel 3 News covered the event, along with WOIO and Fox 8.

In addition to the hero honorees, Dr. Akram Boutros, President and CEO of The MetroHealth System was presented with the Community Leader Award.

Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

Here are the 2016 Greater Cleveland Heroes:

Thomas Huggins, Visiting Nurse Association

Psychiatric nurse Thomas (Thom) Huggins of the Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio goes above and beyond to help people who are in emotional or mental torment.  Even when they first refuse his help.

Thom visits their homes repeatedly until the patients begin to trust him and to believe him when he tells them that their medication will help, and that their condition is not a sign of weakness.  He knows that if a patient’s mental health and stability improve, the patient’s life will be better and the entire community will benefit.

His courage and compassion have allowed hundreds, if not thousands of individuals to continue their journey to healthy, safe, and independent living.

“To see the spark start to the return to their eyes, that they get it, and to see them feel relief from their symptoms,” says Thom, “What could I ever do that would be better than being a part of that?”

David Bailey, First Energy Corp.

Dave Bailey, a Meter Reader at First Energy, was just finishing up a job at a home in Concord Township when he was approached by another man with a look of horror on his face. The man was a carpenter who was working nearby and had severely injured his hand with a saw. Dave took control of the situation. He recalled the emergency first aid training he received as part of his job.  Dave told the man to keep pressure on the wound to help control the bleeding, and helped keep him calm while they waited for emergency medical personnel to arrive. Dave then activated the emergency lights on his truck to help guide the ambulance crew to their location.

Dave, who is preparing to retire after 15 years with First Energy, is grateful he was able to help a fellow human being in need.

Col. Thomas Dundon, DDS, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Dr. Thomas Dundon is not only Chief of Dental Services at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center,  he is also a U. S. Army Colonel.  He has twice been deployed to war zones in the Middle East. Dr. Dundon has devoted his entire military and professional career to serving Army Reservists and Veterans, and is currently Commander of the 912th Dental Company.

Dr. Dundon was awarded the distinguished U.S. Army Bronze Star, a medal denoting meritorious achievement or service in a combat zone for his deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008.  Through his leadership as the Dental Commander for the entire northern region of Iraq, Dr. Dundon helped more than 12,000 coalition forces and civilians receive quality dental care.

In addition to his military deployments, Dr. Dundon has led numerous dental teams on humanitarian missions to impoverished areas throughout the world, improving access to dental care for thousands of people.

Amelia Baffa, UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

Adolescents and young adults with cancer can face unique challenges.  They are often caught between pediatric and adult oncology. The medical and social needs of these patients often differ from the needs of infants, younger children and adults.

Amelia Baffa recognizes the challenges these patients face as a Patient Navigator for teen and young adult cancer patients at the Angie Fowler Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Institute at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

She is nationally recognized for her efforts to develop fertility preservation programs for this age group.

Prior to her role as an adolescent and young adult (AYA) Patient Navigator, Amelia was a driving force behind the transformation of blood conservation at the hospital. The standards and guidelines she helped create limited unnecessary pediatric blood transfusions.  She then went on to help other children’s hospitals develop and implement similar programs.  The impact of her efforts has been significant across the country.

Harry Ramsey, United States Coast Guard

Winds were whipping up waves on Lake Erie after sunset on October 8th, when a distress call was received: a sailboat was in danger of smashing into the Fairport Harbor break wall. The seas were 6-9 feet with winds exceeding 20 knots, as a Coast Guard response boat, piloted by Boatswain’s Mate Harry Ramsey arrived. The sailboat did indeed hit the break wall and was taking on water. Despite the extremely challenging weather conditions, and the dangerous proximity to the break wall, Petty Officer Ramsey expertly maneuvered the Coast Guard vessel to rescue the boater from his sinking sailboat.  He executed the transfer flawlessly.

The Coast Guard credits Boatswain’s Mate Harry Ramsey’s bravery, professionalism, and dedication for saving the life of the boater, and preserving the lives of his crew.

Detective John Graves, Patrol Officer Theresa Cavett, Patrol Officer Matthew Cavanaugh, Cleveland Division of Police

Police aren’t often called to chase down someone in need of medical attention.  But it happened one night in December 2015, when Detective John Graves was the first on the scene of a serious car crash on Cleveland’s near west side. Witnesses said a bleeding man ran from the crash. Detective Graves spotted him and gave chase on foot, finally apprehending the man in a yard nearby. He had severe arm and leg wounds.  Arriving on the scene, Officer Matthew Cavanaugh applied a tourniquet to the injured leg, utilizing his recent first-aid training. Officer Theresa Cavett used the man’s belt as a tourniquet on his arm, and tried to keep him from going into shock. Emergency Medical personnel then took man to a nearby hospital, where doctors said a bullet had hit the man’s femoral artery, and that he would have died without the officers’ quick and competent medical attention.

Petie the Pony, Victory Gallop Therapeutic Riding School

Petie the Pony has been bringing joy into the lives of children for nearly 20 years.  He visits patients at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, offering a form of therapy that no doctor or drug can match.  His big brown eyes and his soft muzzle offer warmth and kindness to every child he meets.  He is never impatient, and always finds a way to break through the barrier of pain or sickness to bring joy to children.

Preparing Petie is no easy task.  His handlers Sue Miller, Kim Gustely and Toril Simon of Victory Gallop, a therapeutic horseback riding school, must go through a painstaking procedure to be sure he meets the hospital’s cleanliness standards.  Petie must then negotiate a revolving door and an elevator to access patient rooms.  But the visible joy he brings to a child who hasn’t smiled in weeks is a gift well worth the effort.

Rescue at Sea Inspires Movie, Honors Heroes

The timing couldn’t have been better.

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Coinciding with the open nomination period for the Red Cross Greater Cleveland Hero Awards, was an advance screening of the full-length feature film THE FINEST HOURS, a story about real-life heroes.  Allied Integrated Marketing, publicists for the movie, graciously invited us to promote the Hero Awards at the screening on January 26 at the Capitol Theatre,  and we were delighted to accept the offer.

Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer for Northeast Ohio, spoke to a nearly full theater of guests to the advanced screen. Tim described the Hero Awards program, and the kind of people who have been honored in the past.  Honorees like Cleveland Firefighter Jim Norman, who helped rescue two children from a burning home in 2013.  Jim was in attendance, as were several members of the United States Coast Guard.

The movie, THE FINEST HOURS, depicts what many people believe was greatest small craft rescue at sea in the history of the Coast Guard.

Sara Shookman, news anchor at WKYC Channel 3 took part in the presentation as well, introducing Tim and gamely asking trivia questions prior to the start of the movie.  Sara has agreed to host the Greater Cleveland Hero Awards on Friday, March 11 at the Cleveland Convention Center.

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Cleveland Firefighter and Past Hero Award honoree Jim Norman, Sara Shookman of WKYC Channel 3 News, and Tim O’Toole, Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer

Three Red Cross volunteers: Toni-Kay Attanasio, Stephanie Naumovski Stevoff and David Schindler helped stage the event.  As Tim O’Toole noted, our volunteers perform heroic deeds every day, by helping people who suffer home fires and other disasters.

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Northeast Ohio Red Cross Volunteers Toni-Kay Attanasio, Stephanie Naumovski-Stevoff, and David Schindler

You can become a Red Cross volunteer by logging onto redcross.org/neo, and clicking on the “Volunteer” tab in the left margin.

And you can nominate a hero, through February 1, by visiting clevelandheroes.com.