Sunday, May. 8, 2005
A Second World War hero dubbed “the British Schindler” for helping thousands of Jews escape Germany was today honoured in his home town.
Frank Foley used his official job at the British Embassy in Berlin to issue visas to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution.
Now an 8ft-high Portland stone statue has been unveiled in his birthplace of Highbridge, Somerset, to provide a permanent tribute to him.
David Rothenberg, vice-chairman of the Association of Jewish Refugees, which partly funded the statue, said: “We are delighted to have contributed to this worthy cause and honour the life of Major Foley. Without his bravery and initiative, many more people would have been trapped in Germany and would inevitably have lost their lives.
“On the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War we take this opportunity to reflect on the enormous impact one individual can make.”
Major Foley was posted to Berlin in the early 1920s by the Secret Intelligence Service, the predecessor of MI6.
After Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933, Major Foley used his job as the embassy’s passport control officer to issue the necessary paperwork to Jews to leave Germany for sanctuary – often bending rules under which London was trying to limit Jewish migration to British-ruled Palestine.
It is estimated he helped around 10,000 Jews.
Described as a deeply-religious Catholic, Major Foley also went into concentration camps to secure the release of Jewish prisoners, and sheltered Jews in his own home until they could leave the country.
The new statue was commissioned in 2000 on behalf of the Foley Committee, which has also erected a plaque outside the house in which he was born.
Local volunteers raised more than £25,000 for the statue, which depicts Major Foley stamping the visa of an anonymous Jewish refugee.
The statue now stands in front of Highbridge community centre.
Last year a plaque was unveiled at the British Embassy in Berlin to Major Foley, who died in 1973.
Calling him “a true British hero”, British Ambassador Sir Peter Torry, who carried out the ceremony, said: “Without diplomatic immunity, at considerable personal risk to himself, this unassuming man chose to follow his conscience.”
At the ceremony last November, Peter Weiss recalled that his mother “heard a rumour that someone was giving out visas in Berlin” and went to Major Foley’s office in 1939. He let her stay at his apartment for three days before presenting her with documents that allowed her to flee to Belgium.
“My mother was virtually the only survivor of a very large family,” Weiss said. “All the children from that time who survived are his legacy.”
In 1999, Major Foley was named as a Righteous Among The Nations, the highest award Israel can confer on a non-Jew for saving Jews from Nazi persecution.
His name was inscribed on a wall in the Garden of the Righteous, which tumbles down a wooded hillside outside Jerusalem.
Saturday, May. 7, 2005
As a young private from Gaspe, Que., Charles Bouchard wasn’t aware just how big a piece of history he was watching unfold on May 5, 1945, when he stood guard outside the brick hotel where the Germans surrendered Holland to a Canadian general.
But on Thursday, as he stood outside the De Wereld Hotel and watched more than 100,000 Dutch residents turn out for a military parade to mark Liberation Day, the significance of that brief meeting was everywhere.
“The streets were empty, but we had guards at each end,” recalled Bouchard, 80, who served with the Royal 22nd Regiment.
“I remember the Germans seemed to be quite nervous, that’s the impression I had.”
Bouchard said he hoped Gen. Johannes Blaskowitz, German commander-in-chief in the Netherlands, would surrender and the war would be over, but he was kept out of the loop.
“We didn’t know what was happening, we didn’t know we were in the process of helping make history. I only realized it several years later when I learned that it was here that the surrender was worked out.”
But that meeting in the hotel’s dining room, in this town about 100 kilometres southeast of Amsterdam, led Blaskowitz to agree to the terms of a surrender, ending five years of Nazi occupation in Holland that killed more than 230,000.
Bouchard had witnessed the hardships first-hand, crossing back and forth the enemy line to deliver food in the weeks before victory in Europe was declared May 8.
Thursday, it was a vibrant, healthy and grateful Dutch population that welcomed Bouchard and veterans from several Allied ranks represented in the parade.
Thirteen Canadian veterans officially attended the event, which was preceded by a private service attended by Dutch Prince William Alexander, but several others marched under banners such as the Royal Canadian Legion and the Canadian Liberation 60 Band.
The crowd applauded long and loud, hanging out windows, waving, and jumping off the sidewalk to snap photos.
Red, white and blue confetti rained onto aging veterans as they proudly marched, their arms swinging and heads held high.
One veteran insisted on abandoning his wheelchair for a few hundred metres, gripping a uniformed friend’s hand tightly for support before eventually returning to the chair.
Marike Bakker, a 35-year-old homemaker, was one of several people to secure their curb-side positions a full eight hours early.
“I feel very emotional,” said Bakker, a camera draped around her neck.
“I think these veterans are going to die soon, so we as younger people must understand what happened in the Second World War.”
One Canadian watching the day’s events unfold from his Edmonton home was the translator at the armistice table.
Dr. George Molnar, who landed the job in his intelligence role with the 1st Canadian Division, recalls the mood in the room as somewhat sombre.
“They (Germans) behaved as the professional soldiers they were,” Molnar, 82, told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview.
“They were downhearted, but everyone had known what was coming.”
Molnar was unable to attend the VE-Day ceremonies in the Netherlands, a week-long series of events involving some 1,500 veterans from Canada.
Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson, who attended the event, said this week of commemoration in Holland and the degree of respect for Canada is understandable given the circumstances the Dutch were facing.
“To suddenly see themselves being relieved by young and good-looking troops, that’s what keeps the memory alive,” Clarkson told reporters before the parade.
“When they say ‘Thank you Canada,’ they’re saying thank you to the spirit of Canada.”
Veterans Affairs Minister Albina Guarnieri, who had returned to Canada after greeting the veterans at the airport due to fears about a non-confidence vote in the Commons, flew back to the Netherlands on Thursday and caught up with the veterans at a military tattoo.
She will be joined by Prime Minister Paul Martin, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe on Monday, when they put their political bickering aside to spend a few hours with the veterans before they head back to Canada on Tuesday.
Friday, May. 6, 2005
Elderly Woman Saved From Burning Apartment.
A local man is a hero Friday night after saving the life of his 48-year-old bed-ridden neighbor from her burning apartment building.
Ed Thompson heard the cries of the woman inside the Eastmont Estates apartments in Greensburg and ran inside the apartment to save the woman’s life.
Thompson saw the smoke and broke a window, found the woman, and got her out through the window.
The woman was taken to a burn unit and is thankful to be alive.
Pat Wilson of The Red Cross credits Thompson for saving the woman’s life.
Thursday, May. 5, 2005
Nine heroes and four heroic groups will be honored by the Mount Rainier chapter of the American Red Cross this morning in addition to 9-1-1 dispatch hero Cody Roberts of Olympia.
Here are their stories:
– Department of Corrections employees were named Workplace Safety Heroes for helping a collapsed co-worker.
Doug Hasselbach was found unconscious, not breathing and turning blue May 25 near his office at the state Department of Corrections headquarters in downtown Olympia.
A group effort began to save his life. While one staff member took his pulse, another called 9-1-1. Several co-workers turned him over, and someone else ran for the first-aid kit. Those trained in first aid and CPR stepped forward to provide aid.
Several staff members directed medics to the scene and provided information, while another ran to notify Hasselbach’s wife.
Despite the heroic efforts, Hasselbach didn’t survive. Medics reported that they rarely have witnessed a more organized lifesaving effort.
Corrections staff involved included Ranae Cooper, Kris Geringer, Lydia Haelle, Morgan Lee, Kimberly Pearson, Lynn Scott, Virginia Shamburg, Paula Terrell, Casey Thornton and Tracy Wade.
– Keystone Crisis Nursery was named an Olympia Community Partner Hero for aiding about 200 families by providing access to child care during emergencies.
Keystone aims to prevent child abuse and neglect by encouraging parents to get help before a crisis occurs. Keystone helps parents who have nowhere else to turn during a medical emergency or when fleeing a domestic violence situation. Organizers also provide a safe place for children when their parents have a job interview or need to take care of a legal issue.
Keystone recently helped a young mother suffering from postpartum depression with child care, so she could find a house and schedule therapy sessions. In another case, Keystone helped a grandmother caring for her grandchild get rest after chemotherapy treatments.
– Mark Noble of Olympia was posthumously named a Legacy Hero for his lifesaving efforts in protecting firefighters locally and nationally.
Noble, 47, died in January of brain cancer, which his doctors attributed to long-term exposure to carcinogens from years of fighting fires. His death was considered Olympia’s first in the line of duty.
Noble’s career began before firefighters routinely wore breathing filters. After his diagnosis in May 2002, Noble began promoting precautions against breathing toxins and appeared in an educational video available nationwide on the cancer risks posed by firefighting.
The Olympia Fire Department, with help from the Civic Foundation and the Washington State Council of Firefighters, will distribute the video to every fire department in Washington.
– Brad Kelley of Lacey, a soldier stationed at Fort Lewis, was named a Military Hero for saving a fellow soldier while serving in Iraq.
On Sept. 29, Sgt. 1st Class Kelley was nearing the end of his tour of duty when an improvised explosive hit his armored personnel carrier.
Kelley’s first reaction was to make sure everyone was OK. One soldier did not respond.
He quickly rushed to the hatch to find that the explosion had cut the fuel and hydraulic lines, starting a fire. Within minutes, smoke and fire had spread through the driver’s compartment. He immediately moved to the driver’s hatch and pulled the injured soldier from the wreckage.
After ensuring the rest of his soldiers made it out, Kelley and his team ran back to the burning vehicle to retrieve as much of the equipment, radios and ammunition as possible. If the ammunition had caught fire and exploded, it would have caused additional injuries.
– Jessica Jang of Lacey was named the Spirit of the Red Cross Hero for raising money to benefit tsunami victims.
After watching stories about tsunami victims on the news, 9-year-old Jang was compelled to take action on a personal and individual level.
She organized a giant garage sale with friends Emily, Preston, Jenna, Zach, Dalton and Candice. The “Garage Sale for the Waves” raised $1,658.97 to support American Red Cross tsunami relief efforts. Most items sold for about $1.
“Whenever you hear about bad things that happen, like the tsunami, I’ve always wanted to help but never really actually did it,” Jessica said. “Now that I have, doing a big project like this is much harder than you think. But, in the end, all the hard work was worth it.”
– Ryan Russell of Lacey was named a Law Enforcement Hero for saving a woman from a burning building.
Russell, a sheriff’s deputy, received a report of a house fire near Yelm. Upon his arrival, Russell saw a trailer on fire, with black smoke and flames billowing from the doors and windows. He talked to the homeowner, who had just arrived at the scene, and learned that the man’s wife was inside.
He peered through the doorway and couldn’t see anyone through the thick smoke. He ran toward the back of the trailer and saw the woman unconscious and unresponsive through a small window. He returned to the front door, braving considerable heat and smoke, and brought the woman to safety.
– Littlerock Fire Rescue members were named Animal Rescue Heroes for saving a horse.
On Feb. 29, 2004, a call came to the volunteer rescue team that a 30-year-old horse was stuck in the mud on its side. In order to avoid serious respiratory complications, the distressed animal needed to be uprighted immediately.
Heavy equipment was required. Members of the rescue team placed blankets around the horse to keep it warm. While calming the animal, they began to shift the horse’s weight to help it stand. With 10 to 20 people assisting, the horse was brought to its feet.
Rescuers were Tom Berryman, Tom Culleton, Tom Fitzgerald, Ken Frasl, Blake Kaleiwahea, Alex Kalmikov, Cheryl Krouse, George Krouse, Kathy Manor, John Ridgeway and Gary Stone.
– Reinhard Friesl and Rita and Angela Brengan of Olympia were named Fire Safety Heroes for saving lives during a fire at the Olympia Apartments.
Friesl, the building maintenance worker, awoke Aug. 15 to the sound of fire alarms. He rushed to the fire alarm and found indicator lights flashing on the sixth floor.
He ran upstairs and found smoke filling the hallway. He saw resident Tom Seefeld emerging from his apartment in his wheelchair. Friesl pushed Seefeld through dense smoke to the elevator and sent him down below to safety. He then returned to the hallway and helped eight other residents use the fire escape. His attempts to get the residents out of the apartment where the fire started were unsuccessful.
Rita Brengan, the apartment manager’s mother, was awakened by her granddaughter, Angela. Together, they helped other residents evacuate.
– Heather Parker and Trace Strickland of Shelton were named Humanitarian Adult Heroes for helping victims in an auto accident.
On Feb. 7, Parker and Strickland were driving south in separate vehicles on U.S. Highway 101. As they approached the Shelton-Matlock Road interchange, they watched in horror as an approaching northbound vehicle lost control on an icy overpass, crossed into their lane and collided with the vehicle in front of theirs.
Both pulled to the side of the road, and Parker called 9-1-1. They went up to the collision and found a young boy on the shoulder who had been thrown from one of the vehicles.
Parker checked to see if the boy was breathing. He wasn’t, and she was unable to detect a pulse. Without hesitation, she began chest compressions, then breaths of air while Strickland, also trained in first aid, took over on the chest compressions. They continued until medics arrived and took over.
Though the boy did not survive because of fatal injuries from the collision, Parker and Strickland kept their heads and helped a family in a horrible situation.
– Lon Bickler of Enumclaw and Lloyd Long of Aberdeen were named Medical Rescue Heroes for saving a man on the side of the road.
On April 13, 2004, Bickler and Long were traveling near Brinnon as members of the Bonneville Power Association’s Olympia line crew.
As they passed a tractor-trailer, they saw a man on the ground.
While Bickler checked the victim’s breathing and pulse, Long called 9-1-1 on his cell phone.
Long remembered that they had a defibrillator in the vehicle, and they were advised to use it. They continued CPR until a medic helicopter arrived to take the man to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
– Jayson Haury of Olympia was named Humanitarian Youth Hero for saving his best friend, Adam Peters, from drowning last summer.
Jayson and Adam were playing and having fun in the pool. They were swimming back and forth when Adam started having trouble. Jayson, who was only 5 years old, saw him struggling to stay afloat in the deep end.
Remembering what he had learned during swimming lessons, Jayson recognized the signs and calmly reached for Adam’s hand. He offered Adam one of the extra flotation devices and helped him swim to safety.
A businessman who saved a teenage girl from being sexually assaulted as she walked to school in Industry was hailed as a hero Wednesday by the sheriff’s department.
Michael Carr intervened about 7 a.m. March 11 when he heard the 14-year-old girl’s screams near his business in the 16400 block of Kaplan Avenue.
“If not for Mr. Carr’s willingness to assist the victim, the suspect would have been able to complete his assault,’ said sheriff’s Capt. Margaret Wagner.
The Sheriff’s Department presented Carr with a commendation at the Industry Station.
On the morning of the attack, the girl was walking to school when a man who remains at large grabbed her and dragged her about 100 feet to an area behind a garbage bin in an alley.
Carr, who had gone to work early that day, said afterward that he’d heard “something going on in the alley, a young girl screaming.’
“So I came out and didn’t see anything; so I go over to the Dumpster area and he’s got her by the neck and he’s strangling her,’ he said then. “So I did what anybody would do. I grabbed him and pull him off her. She just ran because she was terrified and I got him to the ground and was holding him.’
As he was trying to call to his employees for help and dial 9-1-1, the suspect got away.
Some of Carr’s employees began chasing the suspect, but after a couple of blocks, the man jumped into a full-size white van and drove off north on Echelon Avenue.
The assailant was described as a Latino man in his 30s, 5 feet 3 inches tall, 140 to 150 pounds, with thinning dark hair.
Anyone who knows his whereabouts was urged to call sheriff’s detectives at (866) 247-5877 or (323) 526-5541.
A man who has saved more than 1,500 people from drowning in the River Clyde will be presented with a special lifetime award today by Princess Alexandria.
George Parsonage, 61, has rowed a boat on the river to rescue men, women and children in danger of drowning since 1979.
He will be presented with a special silver medal in honour of his work from the Princess, who is president of the Royal Humane Society.
Mr Parsonage took over the running of the Glasgow Humane Society from his father in 1979.
His life-saving work is carried out in conjunction with Strathclyde Police. The Glasgow Humane Society was founded in 1790 as a lifeboat service to rescue people from drowning in the Clyde, and recover the bodies of those drowned.
Its original base was in a house at the edge of Glasgow Green, nicknamed “The Dead Hoose”, but this was demolished in the late 30s.
The Society has always been a family business with George Geddes manning the boat between 1859 and 1899, until his son, another George, took over until his death during a rescue attempt in 1931.
He was then replaced by Ben Parsonage, who served until his death in 1979, and was succeeded by the current George Parsonage.
Mr Parsonage will receive his award at The Royal Humane Society’s Annual General Court at Haberdashers’ Hall in London.
The Royal Humane Society has been giving awards for bravery and lifesaving since 1774 and is one of the UK’s oldest bravery awards organisations.
Monday, Apr. 11, 2005
More than a year after her death, a Winnipeg woman was remembered as a hero who lived life to the fullest. “My mom was an everyday hero. Not the swoop-in-and-save-the-world Superman kind of hero, but an everyday hero,” said Kirsten Albo, daughter of Diane Kroeker, who died while reaching out to help someone in danger of drowning in the Pacific Ocean.
A musical tribute to Kroeker was held at St. John’s Cathedral yesterday afternoon, attracting more than 150 people to the service.
“She drowned saving the life of someone else, she was our hero,” said Albo. “If you looked up the word love in the dictionary, you should see a picture of my mom.”
The 60-year-old Winnipeg mother and grandmother was leading a tour with a local Mennonite university in Guatemala on Feb. 29, 2004, when she drowned.
Kroeker was devoted to the Central Mennonite Universities program that helped university-aged students travel to other parts of the world to study and take part in spiritual adventures.
The family wants Kroeker’s memory and generous spirit to live on and have initiated a project that will help bring musical instruments and motorbike repair equipment to Uganda.
Coined the Uganda Project, the Kroeker family wants to raise $25,000 for the project, which would also help build a computer literacy centre and provide resources that help boys and girls in Uganda excel in academic and skill development.
There will be a fundraising social on June 10 at the Waverley Heights Community Centre to raise funds for the project.
A seven year-old boy is being hailed as a hero after he led his two younger brothers to safety. The three boys were left home alone in an apartment in Burtonsville’s Knight’s Bridge apartment complex when a fire broke out in their second floor apartment.
The seven year-old led his four and five year-old brothers to an apartment next door and an adult led the boys and several other children to safety.
A spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department says the blaze apparently began in the kitchen.
The fire caused an estimated 100,000 dollars damage to the apartment complex in thee 3300 block of Teagarden Circle.
The boys’ mother said she left the apartment for no more than 20 minutes to call a babysitter who had not arrived.
Monday, Mar. 21, 2005
Because volunteering seems so natural to Joe Goodrich, he was a little uncomfortable being singled out March 13 for a statewide honor.
“I’m just glad that I am able to talk with children and teach them things that could save their lives,” Goodrich said as he tried to get used to being the 2005 Firefighter of the Year chosen by the Maryland State Council of the Knights of Columbus.
The plaque he received reads “in recognition of many years of assistance and protection of the citizens and community, and dedication to fire safety classes for youth.”
Goodrich, who is active at the Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co. as a lieutenant and at Children’s Village of Washington County as an instructor, went to Severna Park, Md., for the ceremony with his wife, two children, his parents and other family members.
“My grandfather, William Goodrich, is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and he got the application,” Goodrich said. With help from Maugansville Fire Chief Phil Ridenour, the application was submitted.
Goodrich, 41, started volunteering at the Washington County Civil Defense station when he was 14 years old. When he turned 16, he joined both the Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway and the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co.
“In 1990, I moved into Maugansville’s area so I started running with Maugansville,” Goodrich said. He said he maintains his friendships with the volunteers from his previous companies.
“I have been with Children’s Village since the beginning,” Goodrich said. He teaches at least once a month there and would like to see that increase.
He said the curriculum at Children’s Village provides one day of education each for fire and police lessons, directed at second-graders in Washington County and beyond. He would like to see the fire portion increased to two days because he feels there is so much that children need to know.
In addition to running with Maugansville on fire calls, Goodrich is also seeing that children in that community are being taught fire prevention.
“I do the safety camp at Maugansville,” he said.
A committee was formed in 2004 to make the idea a reality. Two camps were held last year; each was three nights from 6 to 8 p.m. for children in grades 2 to 6.
Washington County Sheriff’s deputies joined in with a section on bicycle safety, Goodrich said.
“Last year, we also burned a car and narrated so the kids would understand how fire operates,” he said.
When Goodrich asked for help with the camp last year, 20 or more people showed up, he said. Many of those were young people who are going to school while training to become firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
“They deserve recognition, too,” he said.
Right now, the Maugansville volunteers are absorbing the cost of safety camp, which includes T-shirts for all who participate. Goodrich said he has written a grant proposal for $32,000 to $35,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for funds for interactive equipment and computer models.
“Children are at a disadvantage … they only know what adults teach them,” he said.
Sunday, Mar. 20, 2005
Ten health care employees from six area hospitals were recently named “Health Care Heroes” by the Alabama Hospital Association Southwest Council at a luncheon held in Mobile.
Recognized at the program for outstanding service to Alabama’s hospital patients were:
Andy Baranski, medical technologist at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital; Sister Mary Elizabeth Cullen, vice president of Mission Services at Providence Hospital; Pat Drew, nurse manager at Springhill Medical Center;
Also, Norma E. Eubanks, social worker at North Baldwin Infirmary; Jennifer Jackson, licensed practical nurse at Evergreen Medical Center; Elizabeth Naman, nurse manager at Springhill Medical Center; Sandra Pickens, Education Department secretary at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital;
Also, Dr. Mark A. Roberts, family practitioner at Evergreen Medical Center; Phyllis F. Tate, director of clinical education and diabetes at Thomas Hospital; and Paul J. Tomlinson, assistant manager of the intensive care unit at Springhill Medical Center.
“These are men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving their patients,” said Stan Hammack, chairman of the Alabama Hospital Association. “They represent well the mission of hospitals to heal and provide comfort, and we are pleased to be able to honor them.”
The Alabama Hospital Association Southwest Council’s “Health Care Heroes” contest was one of seven regional contests held throughout the state. The regional winners will also compete in a statewide “Health Care Heroes” contest, where seven people, one winner from each region, will be chosen as Alabama’s Health Care Heroes and honored at a special event in Montgomery in May.
The regional and state “Health Care Heroes” contest is sponsored by the Alabama Hospital Association, along with the association’s seven regional hospital councils, in an effort to highlight the people who work in health care and to encourage others to consider a career in this field.
The Alabama Hospital Association is a trade organization located in Montgomery whose mission is to support hospitals in their efforts to provide quality health care to Alabama’s citizens.
Saturday, Mar. 19, 2005
Brave act saved two lives.
A Cardington man was among the 15 people that were to be honored Thursday with Carnegie Medals for heroism for acts including rescuing neighbors from burning homes, dragging injured motorists out of their burning cars and pushing a drowning woman to safety.
Among the honorees is Kevin Crowley, of Cardington in Morrow County, who the foundation said dragged two men from a burning car after a traffic accident in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Crowley saved Garrett M. Bowers and Lawrence W. Ashman from burning in Mount Vernon, Ohio, on Jan. 17, 2004. Garrett, 17, remained in the driver’s seat, and Lawrence, 17, in the front passenger seat, of a car that caught fire after a car accident. Crowley, 47, a passenger in the other car involved in the accident, dragged the two men from the burning car. All three survived.
The foundation said two of the other three Ohioan honorees saved people from burning houses, while the fourth saved a man from drowning in an icy pool of water.
The Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission meets five times a year to choose heroes, who are brought to its attention through newspaper clips or tips to the commission’s Web site.
Industrialist Andrew Carnegie started a hero fund in 1904 after being inspired by rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people. Those awarded the bronze medal and $3,500 are announced five times a year. Since the fund was established, 8,884 people have received the medals and $27.7 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance.
The other Ohio heroes are:
tMatthew Nickels, of Dayton, Ohio, honored for saving Kendall Hock from drowning on Jan. 24, 2004. Kendall, 7, broke through ice that was partially covering a water-filled gravel pit. Driving past the pit, Nickels, 40, called 911 before racing on the ice, where he broke through but was able to push Kendall out of the way. Nickels was rescued by emergency crews. They both survived.
# Damion DeRobbio, of Struthers, Ohio, honored for helping to rescue Mackenzie N. Palmer from burning in Pulaski, Pa., on April 22, 2004. Mackenzie, 6, was in a bedroom of her family’s one-story house after fire broke out. DeRobbio, a neighbor, was alerted to the fire and entered the home through a window. He crawled to Mackenzie’s bed and helped her out of the window. They both survived.
# Kevin R. Minehart, of Columbus, Ohio, honored for rescuing Mark A. and James S. Boyd from burning in Columbus on Jan. 26, 2004. Mark, 3, and his grandfather, Boyd, 64, lay unconscious in a ground-floor bedroom of their home after fire broke out. Minehart, 29, was driving by and saw the fire. He broke a window in the bedroom and went in the house. He carried the boy to the window and dragged Boyd to the window. All three survived.
Friday, Mar. 18, 2005
Selfless acts by everyday heroes among us were recognized Thursday at the Alameda County Community Heroes Breakfast, sponsored by the American Red Cross and the Oakland Fire Department.
The event, held at the Oakland Airport Hilton, honored several Bay Area people and organizations for their good deeds and work helping others.
One honoree was James Morman of Oakland. On this past Christmas Day,
he saw flames coming from a neighbor’s house and called 9-1-1, then climbed a tree, kicked in an upstairs window, crawled into the burning room and saved a young girl.
Albert Ybarra of Dublin received an award for saving a 3-year-old boy last September after an accident on the San Mateo Bridge. In stopped traffic, he saw a woman running hysterically across the lanes, and he got out of his car. A man with a small boy was struggling
in the water below, so Ybarra jumped in, followed closely by Salvador Augustin of Menlo Park. They got the man and the 3-year-old boy to the bridge, where people began throwing ropes, straps and found a tow-truck to pull them up.
Quick thinking also earned W. Isaac Simons of Oakland an award. He rushed into smoky hallways when fire broke out in his apartment building last year. He found the fire hose, and with help from fellow tenant Joe McAneny, unwrapped it and turned on the nozzle, pouring water on the flames until firefighters arrived.
Leslie and Daniel Troutner of Oakland were honored for their loving assistance of 9-year-old Saleh Khalaf and his family, helping them adapt to American life and find housing. Saleh is the Iraqi boy who nearly died in a bomb blast in his homeland, and was brought to Children’s Hospital Oakland for care. Leslie Troutner was working as a hospital ward clerk and developed a special bond with Saleh.
Also honored were high-school student Victoria Kim, who received an award for her extensive community service; Nina Tanner-Smith, for running the nonprofit Oakland Parent Teacher Children Center; the Hayward-based Emergency Shelter Program, serving victims of domestic violence; Pixar Animation Studios, for its ongoing support of community programs in Emeryville; and Hopalong Animal Rescue.
Thursday, Mar. 17, 2005
As the bagpiper signaled the start of the procession of local heroes into the ballroom at Cherry Valley Lodge on Wednesday, 6-year-old Secoya Bair, of Newark, plugged her ears.
Kayla Duvall, 9, Newark, reached down for the little girl’s hand and helped her lead the line of eight people being honored at the third annual Heroes’ Breakfast for the Red Cross. Reaching the front of the room, the local heroes stood quietly while the audience applauded their accomplishments.
The 2005 Hometown Heroes’ Breakfast honors selected individuals from the community who have gone above and beyond ordinary duty. These people exhibit courage, initiative, compassion, personal responsibility and heroic actions which have saved lives or demonstrated an unusual degree of unselfish character. Each of the heroes served the community either by showing extraordinary courage, making life easier and more comfortable for others or inspiring others.
Duvall, a third-grader at Madison Elementary, received the Youth Hero award for her unselfish act of collecting items for the troops overseas and for the homeless, instead of accepting birthday presents.
Paul Collier, interim principal at Utica High School, received the education award for more than 35 years of dedication to students in several school districts.
Johnny John received the senior hero award for unselfishly serving Thanksgiving dinners to people in need for 19 years.
Licking Memorial Hospital’s Loretta McCollum was honored for her development of the Diabetes Self-Management Training program, Putting the Pieces Together.
Firefighter David Decker received a plaque for his courageous rescue of a victim of a house fire. Six other firefighters received a certificate for their assistance in this act of heroism, including Doug Vermaaten, Tom O’Brien, Vince Wallar, Greg Coffman, Mike Swearingen and Bill Spurgeon.
Secoya Bair received a certificate of extraordinary personal action for saving her grandmother from drowning in the bathtub after she had experienced a seizure.
Rick Grove, 52, of Newark, was recognized for his volunteer work in numerous charities, including Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, serving as a United Way campaign committee member at Owens Corning Science & Technology center and helping the Homeward Bound Humane Society.
Grove founded the Spirits in the Wind charity ride 10 years ago as a way to honor his closest friend, Barry Diller, who died in December 1995. Each year, he organizes the poker run and cooks for the hundreds of people who participate. The event has raised more than $100,000 for the local chapter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Recently, Grove became an active contributor supplying care packages for many of the Armed Forces in Iraq.
“I don’t do this for the recognition,” Grove said, “although I do appreciate it. I try to give back to the community and help the less fortunate.”
Granville Village Manager Joe Hickman, 47, humbly accepted the workplace hero award for his actions during the recent ice storm. He worked tirelessly day and night to ensure that the community residents and his employees had warm meals, places to stay and safe roads. Hickman helped plow the roads, clear the streets of debris, carried firewood and helped serve food to others.
“It is very humbling when you see the other recipients up here,” Hickman said. “I am pretty sure there are people more deserving than myself. It is just what we (village managers) do.”
The executive director for the local Red Cross, Rod Cook, enjoys hearing the stories of each hero.
“We don’t think enough of these good stories get out,” Cook said. “Again this year, we had some outstanding stories to tell.”
The breakfast also serves as a fund-raiser for the Licking County Chapter of the American Red Cross, supporting disaster relief and financial assistance programs throughout the county, said Board Chairman Lisa Perkey, of Newark.
The breakfast was started three years ago and has grown every year. But more importantly, the event gives the Red Cross and the community a chance to honor these local people who might otherwise go unnoticed.
“For me, a hero is not defined by words in a dictionary, but by actions and intentions,” Perkey said. “A hero doesn’t think about saving or changing another person’s life. A hero just does. A hero doesn’t plan to make a difference. They just do.”
These are the 15 people who were named Carnegie Heroes by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission:
_Matthew Nickels of Dayton, Ohio, is honored for saving seven-year-old Kendall Hock from drowning on January 24th, 2004. Kendall broke through ice that was partially covering a water-filled gravel pit. Driving past the pit, Nickels called 9-1-1 before racing on the ice, where he broke through but was able to push Kendall out of the way. The 40-year-old rescuer was, himself, rescued by emergency crews. They both survived.
_Damion DeRobbio of Struthers, Ohio, is honored for helping to rescue six-year-old Mackenzie Palmer from burning in Pulaski, Pennsylvania, on April 22nd, 2004. Mackenzie was in a bedroom of her family’s one-story house after fire broke out. DeRobbio, a neighbor, was alerted to the fire and entered the home through a window. He crawled to Mackenzie’s bed and helped her out of the window. They both survived.
_Karl Vaartjes of Ontario, Canada, is honored for rescuing Deborah Fowler and Ryland Jacobs from an attacking dog in Mississauga, Ontario, on December Eighth, 2003. The 36-year-old Fowler and her four-year-old son, Ryland, were playing in the front yard of their house when a 45-pound pit bull and another dog approached and attacked them. The 43-year-old Vaartjes struggled with the dog long enough that Fowler and her son were able to run away. All three survived.
_Kevin James Crowley of Cardington, Ohio, is honored for saving Garrett Bowers and Lawrence Ashman from burning in Mount Vernon, Ohio, on January 17th, 2004. Garrett, 17, remained in the driver’s seat and Lawrence, 17, in the front passenger seat of a car that caught fire after a car accident. Crowley, 47, was a passenger in the other car involved in the accident. He dragged the two men from the burning car. All three survived.
_Frank L. Jackson, of Bethesda, Maryland, is honored for helping to save Pavel Hruban from drowning in Potomac, Maryland, on September 21st, 2003. Hruban, 24, entered the Potomac River in Mather Gorge to swim, despite the extremely turbulent water and was pulled downstream. Jackson, 19, was in a kayak when he saw Hruban struggling. He went downstream to help Hruban. He ended up overturning in his kayak but Hruban held on to it long enough to reach shore. They both survived.
_Frank L. Hubbard of Goldston, North Carolina, is honored for rescuing Terry Thompson from burning in Sanford, North Carolina, on March Eleventh, 2004. Thompson, 60, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck after it collided with a tractor-trailer at an intersection and caught on fire. Hubbard, 43, was the driver of the tractor-trailer. He dragged Thompson from the pickup and away from the wreckage. Both survived.
_Mark Richard Bradley of Braintree, Massachusetts, is honored for saving Catherine O’Connor from assault in Braintree, Massachusetts, on August 28th, 2003. O’Connor, 43, was stopped in her car in traffic on a highway off-ramp when two men approached her vehicle, got in and pointed a gun at her. Bradley, 31, saw what happened and used his car to push O’Connor’s car against a guardrail so it was stuck there. The assailants fled but were caught days later.
_Christopher Cranford, of Humble, Texas, is honored for rescuing a woman from a runaway automobile in Houston on November 14th, 2003. A 47-year-old woman was the passenger of an automobile being driven on a beltway when the car was struck by a tire from a tractor-trailer. The driver of the car was killed instantly, and the car continued out-of-control. Cranford, 18, was behind the car and saw the passenger struggling to gain control of the car. Cranford struck the back of her car and was able to bring both cars to a stop. The passenger was not injured.
_Ralph Sumner Junior of Kinston, North Carolina, is honored for helping rescue Gary Coombs from burning in Kinston, North Carolina, on Christmas Day, 2003. Coombs, 51, was unconscious on the floor of a bedroom after fire erupted in his mobile home. Sumner, 51, saw smoke coming from the building, entered the home and crawled through until he found Coombs and pulled him to the door, where others helped them both out. Coombs had severe burns and died five days later.
_Steve J. Sciortino of Colusa, California, is honored for saving Richard Delafuente from burning in Colusa, California, on November 19th, 2003. Delafuente, 35, lay semiconscious inside his car after a nighttime accident in which the vehicle overturned and caught fire. Sciortino, 51, called 9-1-1 and then ran to the car, where he pulled Delafuente out and to safety. Both men survived.
_James W. Rodin of Pismo Beach, California, and Alejandro J. Munoz of Fontana, California, are honored for rescuing Frances Coon from burning in San Lucas, California, on January 16th, 2004. Coon, 46, was the front-seat passenger in a sport utility vehicle that crashed and caught fire. Rodin, 41, and Munoz, 31, both passing motorists, removed her from the car. All three survived.
_Kevin R. Minehart of Columbus, Ohio, is honored for rescuing Mark and James Boyd from burning in Columbus on January 26th, 2004. Mark, 3, and his grandfather, Boyd, 64, lay unconscious in a ground-floor bedroom of their home after fire broke out. Minehart, 29, was driving by and saw the fire. He broke a window in the bedroom and went in the house. He carried the boy to the window and dragged Boyd to the window. All three survived.
_Robert L. Pryor of Ridgeley, West Virginia, and Howard R. Talbott of Bedford, Pennsylvania, are honored for attempting to save Deborah Whiteman from being struck by a moving vehicle in Wiley Ford, West Virginia, on January 14th, 2004. Whiteman, 50, was trapped inside her pickup truck, which overturned after an accident. Pryor, 66, and Talbott, 61, both passing motorists, stopped and worked to free the woman. As they worked, a truck approached in the same lane and Pryor shouted a warning. The truck struck the pickup, knocking it on its roof. Whiteman and Pryor had minor injuries and recovered. Talbott was seriously injured but survived.
Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2005
The 11-year-old boy didn’t say much Tuesday afternoon, but he sure was smiling.
Todd Daniels of Trout Creek was honored at Missoula’s Costco store, where he received presents and ate pizza and cake with family and friends as a sendoff to Washington, D.C., where he’ll be one of the Children’s Miracle Network’s 50 Foresters Champions Across America.
Todd will leave Wednesday to visit the Capitol and meet with U.S. senators. The next day, he travels to Orlando, Fla., to see Walt Disney World, where he will again be honored.
Todd will be accompanied to Washington by his foster mother, Becky Barrus; his foster brother, Barrack Brawn; and social worker Leona Priest.
When asked when he’ll return, Todd quickly said: “A week and a day. I’ve got that memorized.”
Costco donates money to the Children’s Miracle Network, which in turn donates to the Shodair Children’s Hospital in Helena.
“I like (it when) things we do make a difference,” said Doug Homer, Costco’s general manager.
Todd was treated at Shodair for bipolar and attention deficit/hyperactive disorders. He first entered the hospital in 2002 and again in 2003. He was discharged in the spring of 2004.
The Champions Across America program honors children who have persevered despite severe medical challenges.
“Todd never gave up. Even when things weren’t going his way, he was always ready to try again,” said Dr. James Killpack, a psychiatrist at Shodair.
Todd is a foster child at the Open Gate Ranch, where 10 other boys also live. Barrus and her husband, Craig, operate the ranch, which Barrus’ foster father started some 20 years ago.
The ranch is licensed for eight foster children, but Barrus and her husband also care for three adopted children.
Barrus thinks Todd has had his difficulties since birth.
“Normally,” she said, “they don’t show up until adulthood.”
He has a hard time focusing and Barrus said she thinks abuse by his birth parents contributed to that. He also was afraid that men – and his dad – would beat him, she said.
“He wouldn’t take off his coat or backpack,” Barrus said. “He was afraid someone would take it.”
Barrus credits Shodair with his progress. He’s finally in a family now that “Shodair helped him get over that anger,” she said.
Before his trips to Shodair, Todd had more than 20 psychiatric hospitalizations, beginning at age 4.
His difficulties arose in part from birth trauma, doctors said.
At the party Tuesday, Amy Hanser, business development director at Costco, offered her own words of encouragement to Todd.
“Have a great trip,” she said.
“I will,” Todd promised.