Friday, April 1, 2016

Local Heroes Honored in Lewisburg

The American Red Cross North Central Pennsylvania Chapter honored several individuals for their heroic actions during a Spirit of the Hero Breakfast, which was held at the Country Cupboard in Lewisburg on Friday, April 1, 2016. This year’s award recipients included:

Rudolph Frazier (category - Adult Good Samaritan)
As Rudolph Frazier of Sunbury went to the register at the Family Dollar Store in Sunbury to pay for his purchase this past July, he saw a masked person holding a knife to the cashier’s throat, who was placing money into a bag from the register while being verbally threatened by the assailant. Not hesitating for a moment, Rudolph jumped on to the counter then to the back of the robber, taking her to the ground. During the fight that ensued, Rudolph managed to pull the mask from the robber’s face, but also suffered cuts to his legs and bruising to his hands. Despite his injuries, Rudolph was able to hold the robber to the floor until the Sunbury Police Department arrived on scene and arrested the suspect. Rudolph’s willingness to take action despite the risk of personal injury not only resulted in the apprehension of an armed robber, but it also potentially saved the cashier and others from injury.

Jacob Bobersky (category - Youth Good Samaritan)
Jacob Bobersky and his father, both from Benton, were enjoying a beautiful fall day fishing from their kayaks on Lake Silkwood this past October when things went suddenly wrong. The father accidently flipped his kayak. Realizing his father was in distress and not able to pull himself from the situation, 10-year-old Jacob quickly paddled his way over to the overturned kayak, grabbing and towing it to shore, ultimately saving his father from drowning. Jacob’s ability to stay calm and act quickly during a potentially tragic situation meant the difference between life and death for his father, who will now be able to enjoy many more days fishing and paddling across Lake Silkwood with his son.

Abby Erdley (category – Animal Rescue)
So often in the news we hear of families going through tough times and of food banks and shelters looking for individuals to provide donations to support their efforts in the local community. We seldom hear of the pets, the most vulnerable and often overlooked members of families in need. Abby Erdley of Lewisburg has worked hard to address this pressing issue through her nonprofit pet food pantry, Arthur’s Pet Pantry. The Pantry’s mission is to provide for people who might otherwise not be able to afford food for their animals. The ultimate goal is for families to be able to care for their pets without needing to turn them over to local shelters. This past January alone, Abby’s shelter helped to feed 235 local pets, animals that might have otherwise gone hungry or needed to be given up due to unfortunate circumstances in their families. Abby’s dedication has not only helped families stay together, but has also enabled them to properly support their pets during times of economic crisis.

Borough of Berwick Police Chief Kenneth Strish, Detective Brandon Shultz, Detective Gregory Martin, Officer Reagan Rafferty, Officer Holden Sprung (category – Emergency Services Personnel)
Police officers never know what they will encounter during their shifts. They place their lives on the line each time they wear the uniform in order to keep our communities safe. This past November, when a shooter opened fire in the Berwick Industrial Development Association Complex, Berwick Police Officer Holden Sprung was the first to arrive at the scene and was able to notify his fellow officers of the potential deadly situation that was unfolding. Fellow Officer Reagan Rafferty, Detectives Gregory Martin and Brandon Shultz, and Police Chief Kenneth Strish were quick to respond. Negotiations with the suspect commenced and lasted until the suspect opened fire on the officers. Forced to take action, Officer Rafferty returned fire, neutralizing the threat. Placing their own lives in danger, Strish, Shultz, Martin, Rafferty, and Sprung did what they needed to do in order to shield the public from harm by confronting an individual determined to do damage to others. 

Sidney Apfelbaum (category – Military)
They are often referred to as our “Greatest Generation,” the men and women who played a huge role in the events that surrounded the Second World War. Sidney Apfelbaum of Northumberland epitomizes what it means to be part of that generation. Though today known by many as a local lawyer, Sidney’s early life saw him as a solider during World War II, where he found himself in the middle of one of the war’s most terrible battles – The Battle of the Bulge. Serving as a scout for his unit, Sidney was far ahead of his fellow soldiers when he stumbled upon two armed German soldiers. Reaching for his weapon that was slung over his shoulder, he accidently fired into the air, catching the Germans complete off-guard and resulting in their surrendering. Instead of glamorizing the events leading up to the capture, Sidney downplayed the event, telling the truth of how he apprehended his prisoners. His honesty and integrity on and off the battlefield have defined all aspects of his life, and have earned him the respect of his family, friends, and the community he calls home. Photo courtesy of Rob Inglis, photographer, Daily Item.

John Pagana, MD (category - Dr. Charles P. Fasano, D.O. Medical Award)
Since the 1980s, Dr. John Pagana, affectionately referred to as Dr. John by his patients and coworkers, has brought medical care to those who need it most in Sunbury. Realizing the need to serve individuals who couldn’t afford medical care or were uninsured, Dr. John started a small, free clinic from inside his private medical practice. In 2001 he was asked to expand his outreach by opening and becoming the volunteer Medical Director of a free clinic in Sunbury that would go on to serve patients in 4 counties who were working, yet unable to afford medical insurance coverage. Since then he has served the clinic, working closely with Geisinger Medical Center and Evangelical Community Hospital to provide laboratory, radiology, and specialist services. He has also worked to secure free medications to those who need it most. Dr. John’s willingness to volunteer his time and expertise has literally meant the difference between life and death for countless individuals who, without his caring and compassionate commitment to the community, would have not been able to receive vital medical services.

Nala (category – Special Recognition)
As everyone was sleeping on a cold Turbotville February night, Nala, the family’s four-month-old German Shepherd, realized something wasn’t quite right. As flames and smoke began to overtake the home, Nala started to bark frantically, waking Tim from his sleep. Immediately understanding the danger, Tim sprang into action, quickly gathering his three children – Kiflin, Logan, and Zachary – and rushing outside. With his children clear of the burning building, Tim turned to retrieve Nala and their other pets. He tried desperately to re-enter the house, but the flames were too intense, the home fully engulfed. In all, three pets died that night. Sacrificing her own life to save that of her family, Nala reminds us that “not all heroes wear capes.”