Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Celebrating Community Heroes" Event in Fort Collins Recognizes Local Heroes

by Melody Storgaard-Stieve, Northern Colorado Chapter

Sometimes, heroes come to us in unexpected ways at the perfect time. These heroes may turn out to be neighbors who persevere through personal loss to help others, local businesses who step up to help the community they call home, emergency personnel who continue serving their community despite their own personal losses, or even your own daughter. Surprisingly, even an animal can inspire us with how they react during difficult times.

Erin Mounsey (left) and
"Clara Barton" (aka
Eva Sue Littleton)
On Thursday, June 6, the American Red Cross in Northern Colorado spent an evening honoring these courageous people and one extraordinary animal. The evening started out with a cocktail hour - which provided an opportunity to learn about Red Cross services – followed by a dinner and award ceremony.

OtterBox received the Red Cross Commitment to Community award. During the wildfires last year, the staff of OtterBox partnered with Brinkman Partners and McWhinney to make and donate sifter boxes for residents to use to sift through the ashes of their homes to recover personal items. In addition to the sifter boxes, The OtterCares Foundation also gave a generous donation to support Red Cross disaster relief..

Local couple Jerry and Patti Ellman were honored with a special recognition during the ceremony. Despite the devastation of losing their own home during the High Park Fire, they continued to volunteer with the Red Cross and help others.

The Spirit of the Red Cross award went to Poudre School District for providing shelter and gathering facilities for  residents evacuated from the High Park Fire, and for their employees’ continued care for affected residents throughout the difficult waiting period. Poudre School District often opens up their doors for Red Cross use when people are in need of a warm place to stay during times of disaster.

The Animal Lifesaver award went to Ellie the donkey. She saved herself, three Percheron draft horses and another donkey during last year’s High Park Fire. She kept the animals calm and together for three days while they awaited rescue.

The Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department award presentation:
(L to R) Erin Mounsey, Norm Miller, Luke Whitson, Jeff Elsner,
Carol Dollard, Bob Gann, Drew Yancey
The Red Cross presented the Professional Rescuer award to the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department. These brave men and women continued to work tireless hours under strenuous circumstances to make sure their communities were safe – even as many received personal devastating news of losing their own homes and the destruction of one of their own fire stations.

Youth Lifesaver Julia Hastings learned Red Cross CPR through lifeguard training, not knowing how or if she would ever use her newly learned skills. Julia’s ability to stay calm and use the techniques she learned enabled Julia to save the life of her mother when she found her mom without a pulse and unconscious on the floor.

Thank you to all of our award winners for showing us what can happen when someone steps out of their comfort zone in order to lend a helping hand to someone in need.  You inspire us all to be prepared and have compassion for those around us.

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