The annual Hometown Heroes awards recognize local people who epitomize the values of the American Red Cross, taking action in a time of crisis to help someone else. The Red Cross honored the local heroes at a ceremony earlier in June.
The Red Cross provided brief narratives of the heroic acts that earned this year’s round of awards:
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presented to a youth (18 or younger) who applied lifesaving skills to save the life of another.
The staff members of the Downtown YMCA in Boise have at least one thing in common: they all know how to save lives. This past fall, a team of three young staffers — Noail Isho, Melody Suite and Brooke Meglen, all between 17 and 18 years old — used their training to save Kaj Kolding’s life after he suffered ventricular fibrillation due a blocked artery. When the three youths were alerted that a member had collapsed on the floor in the cardio room, and that other staff members were administering CPR, the three grabbed the AED and administered a shock that helped save Kaj’s life.
•Animal Rescue Hero,
presented to a person who saved an animal’s life or to an animal who saved a person’s life.
After putting out a fire in an empty house, firefighters from the Middleton Fire Department were surprised to hear loud cries of “help” and “fire” from inside the building. Running back inside, the crew traced the calls, not to a couple of humans, but to two pet parrots who were trapped in the smoking building! Carrying them to safety, the crew fitted the ailing birds with oxygen masks, after which they quickly recovered.
presented to a professional or volunteer firefighter, or an ordinary citizen involved with a fire-related incident, whose lifesaving action went above and beyond the call of duty.
One Monday morning in February, the Boise Fire Department was alerted to a fire in a duplex on Collister Drive. While two of the three residents had managed to evacuate safely, the flames had trapped a woman named Anna inside the home. Engine 9 was the first to arrive on scene and quickly realized the need for immediate rescue. Engine 16 arrived, but was unable to isolate the bedroom from the fire when the bedroom door would not close. As firefighters advanced a hose line to knock down the flames, other crew members entered the home through a bedroom window. They quickly secured Anna and pulled her through the window out to safety. Although Anna suffered severe burns to her face, neck, and back, she survived because of the firefighters’ actions.
•Law Enforcement Hero,
presented to a member of law enforcement or 911 dispatcher whose lifesaving action went above and beyond the call of duty.
Detectives Mike Miraglia and Tim Brady of the Boise Police Department immersed themselves in a long-term investigation of human trafficking that led to the 2014 rescue of a woman and a 15-year-old girl who had been coerced into prostitution by a local sex trafficking ring.
presented to a member of the Armed Forces (active or retired) whose lifesaving action went above and beyond the call of duty.
1. It was a calm morning at the Mountain Air Force base hangar where AIC Saul Vasquez and the rest of his Equipment Maintenance Squadron were performing an inspection of an F15-E airplane. Vasquez lost his footing while standing on a piece of equipment and, trying to regain balance, cut his left arm on a clamp, severing the radial artery below his elbow. His crewmates Jason Aaron, Stephen Young and Frankie Hearn initiated first aid and called 911. Krystal Pearson and Violet Zeimet helped load Vasquez into a truck, rushing him to the Urgent Care Center. The team had succeeded in slowing the bleeding, and then assisted the UCC staff by keeping Vasquez calm, maintaining pressure on the wound and monitoring his vital signs. Thanks to his crew’s quick actions and teamwork, Vasquez survived.
2. When a family of four young children and three adults didn’t come home one cold night in April, Gabriel Marshman of the Aerospace Medicine Squadron at the Mountain Home Air Force Base answered the call. Within an hour’s notice, he and a group of volunteers set up a command post at the family’s last known location and strung out along miles of mountain roads, campsites and rails to find them. Three hours later, Gabriel and his crew found the family, their car stuck in a snow bank on a deserted road. They were cold and hungry, but healthy.
•Water Safety Hero,
presented to an ordinary citizen or professional rescuer involved in rescuing a person in a water environment.
Last August, 63-year-old Douglas Borah had just finished a water aerobics class at the Treasure Valley Family YMCA and was resting in the lobby before heading home. Suddenly, Doug became unconscious, fell out of his chair, and hit his head. The YMCA staff quickly responded and established that Doug’s breathing and pulse had stopped. The staff was able to revive Douglas with several rounds of CPR and AED administration, and he was conscious and responsive when he was transported by the Emergency Medical Service to the hospital.
presented to a medical professional or an organization whose life-saving actions went above and beyond the call of duty.
Those nominating Chris Shandera describe him as a man who is always on his A game, a paramedic whose excellence and passion for his work have a positive influence on those around him. Chris knows that at any moment, his decisions can make the difference between life and death for those who depend on him, and he takes this responsibility very seriously. This responsibility took on a personal dimension one night in May of 2014 when Chris discovered that a medical response in a parking lot involved a friend’s father, who had collapsed after suffering a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury. Tim had no heartbeat when Chris first took his vital signs, but Chris was able to revive Tim and get him to St. Alphonsus hospital. Tim spent the next two weeks in and out of coma, but thanks to Chris’s lifesaving care, he not only survived the incident, but regained full function within two months.
presented to an ordinary citizen who saved a life at the office, at a construction job, or in another workplace environment.
In May 2013, Kelly Hoffman was visiting with the manager of a motorcycle store in Caldwell when one of the store’s workers burst into the office yelling to call 911. A salesman in their back storage lot had had an accident. Kelly followed the manager to find the salesman unconscious on the ground and bleeding badly. The man had accidentally accelerated while putting the store’s four wheelers into storage, and had crashed into a concrete wall. He had hit his face on the corner of a concrete block, and had suffered severe head trauma. Kelly immediately assessed the victim for broken bones and other injuries and managed to revive him without CPR. With EMTs on the way, Kelly talked to the man to keep him calm while he controlled the bleeding with a seat cover. When the EMTs arrived, Kelly helped load the man into the ambulance. The man survived.
•Search and Rescue Cross Hero,
presented to a person or organization whose saved one or more lives as a result of a search and rescue mission.
When three snowmobilers went missing near Mores Creek summit this past winter, the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue team quickly took the lead to find them. Fanning out on foot, on skis, and on snowmobiles, a team of 22 responders worked for a day to find the two first snowmobilers alive and well. They continued searching for another two days to find the third snowmobiler, also in relatively good condition. Although one of the rescued suffered hypothermia, all snowmobilers quickly recovered from their ordeal.
•Blood Donor Hero,
presented to a person who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to donate lifesaving blood to the Red Cross.
Arma Jo Zimmerman is committed to doing her share to collect lifesaving blood for the Red Cross. As a volunteer organizer, she works with three sponsor groups each year, coordinating 13 blood drives each year: five in Nampa, four at the Karcher Mall, and four at the LDS Nampa West Stake. Arma has not missed a blood drive in spite of having had surgey and taking care of her aging mother. She also helped her grandson sponsor a blood drive, which earned him an Eagle Scout badge. Since April 2013, Arma helped collect 1,350 pints of blood, which has earned her this special citation for excellent volunteer service.
Trish Chadez-Whitney is another outstanding volunteer who has earned a special citation for exceptional volunteer service. Trish has been a blood donor for the past 15 years and stands out for her enthusiasm and her continuous efforts and ability to recruit donors.
•Spirit of the Red Cross Hero,
presented to a person or organization whose lifesaving action embodies the spirit of the Red Cross.
Diana Ochsner was heading to Idaho City on Interstate 84 when a motorcyclist in front of her lost control and crashed. The rider flipped three times in the air, landed in the median, and slid face down along the roadway before he stopped. As Diana ran to him, her first aid training took over. She checked his pulse and found that the man was still alive. Knowing he had probably suffered a neck injury, and that he could not be moved, Diana dug a small hole in the ground by the man’s mouth to help him breathe. When a state trooper arrived on scene, they reached the man’s wife on the phone, and Diana put the phone against his ear. In spite of the injuries to his face and the bleeding from his mouth, Diana could see tears falling from the man’s eyes, indicating that he was still responsive. Diana worked with the paramedics for more than an hour to prepare the victim for transport, and then drove to the hospital to meet with the man’s wife. From there, the man was airlifted to the trauma center in Boise, where he survived.
Congratulations and thanks to all award recipients.
Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Book Club: ‘My Mantelpiece: A Memoir of Survival and Social Justice’
The book club meets at 7 p.m. July 9 at the Idaho Black History Museum, 508 E. Julia Davis Drive. The program features Brad Herzog, who co-wrote the memoir of Dr. Carol Goodman (who died in 2007). Goodman’s son Andrew was one of three young civil rights activists murdered in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Herzog will lead the discussion which is free and open to the public.
Another bonus: Herzog and his wife, Amy, are traveling the country in a Winnebago on this book tour. Book club organizers say the Herzogs have great stories from the road to share.
Red Cross urges blood donations to maintain summer supply
And on a related Red Cross note: the organization is urging eligible donors to give blood in the weeks surrounding Independence Day to help ensure a sufficient blood supply now and throughout the summer. Donations tend to slow during the summer, even though hospitals continue to depend on blood donations.
The Red Cross is encouraging donors to give blood from July 2 to 6. Donors will receive a Red Cross embroidered hat while supplies last.
Donors of all blood types — especially those with types O negative, A negative and B negative — are needed. To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit the website or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Quick takes from the nonprofit world
•Two local kids hold a Childhood Hunger Awareness Month food drive:
Young Boiseans Lily and Barnabas, both 5, are teaming up with Piehole, Downtown purveyor of pizza, to hold a food drive. Here’s the deal: you buy one slice, you get one free with a non-perishable food donation (one deal per person per day). It all happens at Piehole, 205 N. 8th St. and 1016 Broadway Ave., during regular business hours. The drive continues through July 22 with donations benefiting the Idaho Foodbank.
Harris & Co, PLLC is accepting applications for their annual Helping Hands grant program through which they offer pro-bono accounting services for local nonprofit organizations.
Nonprofits can apply for startup assistance; assistance with bookkeeping, payroll consulting services; or assistance with tax and financial statement preparation. All existing or startup nonprofit organizations in the Treasure Valley area are eligible to apply for the grant. Applications are due by July 31. Find an application on the Harris & Co website. Contact Tara Davis 333-8965 with questions.
•Aspiring Junior Olympians:
Young Idahoans are among those athletes qualifying to compete in the Junior Olympics. The costs are daunting, including registration, equipment, travel, lodging and food, which can add up to $1,500 or more. Crowdfunding has become a helpful dollar-raising strategy. Check out two local Junior Olympicsfundraisers online
•Alive After Five and the WCA:
Remember, the always popular Wednesday summer concert series benefits the Women’s and Children’s Alliance. 5 to 8 p.m. July 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 at the Grove Plaza in Downtown Boise.