Friday, March 4, 2016

Eight Awards Presented at Williamsport Breakfast

The American Red Cross North Central Pennsylvania Chapter recognized individuals in the community who have shown courage, dedication, and character through extraordinary acts of heroism and kindness during the Spirit of the Hero Breakfast held at the Genetti Hotel in Williamsport on Friday, March 4, 2016.

This year’s Spirit of the Hero award recipients include:

Mary Sue Gilliland (category - Good Samaritan)
Last April, Mary Sue Gilliland realized there was something wrong when a coworker starting coughing before going silent. Looking up from her desk, she saw her colleague looking at her while motioning with her hands around her neck – the universal sign of a person who is choking. Not hesitating for a moment, Sue ran to her friend. While standing behind her, she reached her arms around to perform abdominal thrusts, thus dislodging the object and enabling the woman to once again breathe freely. It was after the incident that she learned the colleague had been eating pretzels when one become lodged in her airway, preventing her from swallowing or calling out for help. Sue’s awareness of her surroundings and her knowledge of what to do when someone was choking worked together to save her coworker’s life.

Williamsport Bureau of Fire “D” Platoon (category - Firefighter)
As the Williamsport Bureau of Fire “D” Platoon raced to a two-unit structure fire on East Third Street this past June, they were notified by State Police that a person might be trapped in a second floor apartment. Arriving to a well-established fire with no internal access left to the second floor, the firefighters quickly entered the burning apartment unit from a ladder through a second floor window. Finding a woman unconscious on the floor next to her bed, they picked her up and hoisted her out the window and down the ladder to other members of their platoon, who immediately started CPR on the victim. Although the person ultimately succumbed to her injuries at the hospital, the heroic actions of the firefighters rushing into a fully engulfed building in an attempt to save a person with total disregard for their own safety makes them true heroes in the community.

Trooper Adam Kirk (category - Law Enforcement)
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Adam Kirk was passing a two-unit apartment in Williamsport this past June on his way to work early in the morning when he realized the structure was on fire. With the Williamsport Bureau of Fire “D” Platoon en route, Trooper Kirk broke down the door to the first floor apartment, waking the residents and helping them to safety. With the first floor tenants outside, Trooper Kirk ran back into the building in an attempt to reach the woman on the second floor. As the ceiling started to collapse, he realized he couldn’t make it to the woman trapped upstairs and went outside to wait for the fire department. Upon their arrival, he assisted them in their efforts to rescue the person. While the woman on the second floor ultimately succumbed to her injuries, Trooper Kirk’s keen eye, quick thinking, and compassion toward others definitely made the difference in saving the lives of the couple he was able to reach and lead to safety.

Patience the Cat (category - Animal Rescue)
Patience is not the friendliest of cats, at least that is what people tend to say about her. But for her owner, Robin Dadzie, she is the best cat a person could ever have. This past fall, Patience jumped on the bed and began meowing like crazy. Not the typical meow she is known to make, but one that was somehow meant to show a sense of urgency – danger – for the Dadzie Family. Going to investigate, it was quickly realized that the house was on fire. Although the kitchen and bathroom were completely destroyed in the blaze, the Dadzie Family was able to make it out safely, thanks to a cat that was determined to let them know that something was wrong.

Katiera Nettles and Connie Baysore (category - Medical Professionals)
Gym Class at Montoursville Area High School started just like any other in February 2015. Before long, however, a faculty member noticed that a 15 year-old student wasn’t acting quite right. When he approached him to see what was wrong, the student collapsed into his arms. It was then that fellow faculty member Katiera Nettles ran to get the school nurse as 911 was being called. As Substitute school nurse Connie Baysore arrived, the student stopped breathing completely and was showing no sign of a pulse. Realizing that he had possibly suffered a heart attack, she immediately started performing lifesaving CPR until the Susquehanna Regional EMS crew arrived on scene with an AED that was used to revive him. Now fully recovered, the student, his family, and the community are grateful for the quick-thinking actions of all those who used their skills to keep the young man alive until the paramedics arrived.

Bill Nickell, Stephen Pribble, Kevin Smith, and Sufyan El-Geroushi (category - Community Impact)
Bill Nickell, an Assistant Football Coach at Lock Haven University, went to the front door to see who was banging on it. Opening it, he was met by a young boy, who told him that his neighbor’s house was on fire. After waking his roommates, fellow coaches Stephen Pribble, Kevin Smith, and Sufyan El-Geroushi, the group ran next door in an attempt to alert the sleeping residents. Their relief of seeing their effort pay off when two of the residents awoke and rushed outside was quickly turned into worry when they were told of an elderly man upstairs who needed help getting out. Without a second thought, the coaches worked together to rescue the gentleman from the upper floor as the fire department arrived to battle the flames. Thanks to an anonymous young boy and a group of men more concerned about their neighbors’ safety than their own, three people were able to survive a tragic situation that could have been a lot worse.

Dr. Guy Giordano (category - Global Impact)
In the fall of 2014 the Ebola crisis was at its peak, claiming 40% of those who were stricken with the illness in the West African Nations of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. While most outsiders steered clear of the area, a few – like Dr. Guy Giordano – traveled to it in an attempt to bring medical care to the sick and dying. For close to three months, Dr. Giordano worked in hastily built treatment units that were supplied and staffed in part by nonprofit organizations and the governments of the United States and United Kingdom, seeing an average of 10 to 20 patients every two hours. Dressed in protective suits and working in extreme heat, Dr. Giordano and countless other medical professionals did what they could to assist in the fight to end the outbreak, which damages the immune systems and internal organs and often leads to death for those infected.

Bill Roach (Red Cross Exceptional Service Award)
All of our volunteers are valuable members of the American Red Cross, but some stand out amongst their peers. Bill Roach (Wysox) has been selflessly giving of his talents and passion for many years. He volunteers in Bradford County and there is no end to his commitment to our mission. Whether it is taking out the trash, meeting with our valued partners, or assisting a family who has just suffered a home fire on a cold winter’s eve, Bill is always there. But there’s more to his story. Whenever a call goes out to assist following a national disaster, Bill is one of the first people to voluntarily deploy to help those whose lives have been turned upside down by hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. This year alone, Bill has deployed to five different states from Louisiana to Missouri, positively impacting hundreds of lives. There is no better example of what it means to be a volunteer than Bill Roach. He is a role model to us all, and we thank him for his dedicated service to The American Red Cross.