Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 Colorado Springs Hometown Heroes Dinner Brings the Community Together

By Linda Julich, American Red Cross Feature Writer

The Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado honored Hometown Heroes on March 17, 2013 at the Antlers Plaza Hotel in the beautiful Heritage Ballroom.  Phil Long Dealerships served as the Title Sponsor for the event that had an impressive list of nominators, sponsors, and community and Red Cross leaders gathered to recognize our local heroes who demonstrated courage, kindness and unselfish character.  The heroes were accompanied by their proud and supportive families, friends and colleagues.

Humanitarion Award winner David Jenkins with sponsors
from Weidner Apartment Homes.
Photo by Richard Firth/American Red Cross
There is something special about the atmosphere of the party when you have this many heroes in one place.  The room exudes an awareness of the character and integrity of those around you, and the humbleness of those being honored, making you instinctively understand that these everyday heroes make a big difference in our corner of the world.

Starting off with a lovely dinner, Joe Cole, News Director for Fox21, serving as emcee again this year, called the program to begin.  After the presentation of colors and pledge, awards began.  Each recipient was highlighted in a Fox 21 News video showing the incident or program that earned them the hero award.  Each video was as special and unique as the heroes.  Those that viewed them were touched by the stories, the courage, and selfless acts.  One attendee said, “I kept tearing up watching the videos”…and yes, all of us did.

In addition to the thanks and appreciation of the community, each hero received a medal, a certificate, a copy of The Gazette’s front page story, and some Girl Scout Cookies from local Troop 4624.

Awards and recipients for the 2016 Colorado Springs Hometown Heroes are:
Humanitarian Hero:  David Jenkins for his service to the Colorado Springs community by thoughtful and long term stewardship and philanthropic efforts. Sponsored by Weidner Apartment Homes
Animal hero:  The Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center for their service to those with diverse needs through the unique and therapeutic attributes of the horse. Sponsored by BKD, LLP
Adult Hero:  Ken Rojas, employee of Home Depot, for assisting David Thornhill with life saving emergency actions as David suffered a heart attack in the store. Sponsored by The Gazette
First Responder Hero:  Shawn McFarland for his resourcefulness, quick thinking and executive skills in the life saving rescue of Jim Heidelberg in a mountain bike accident.
First Responder Organization recipient the
 Colorado Springs Pilice Department
Photo by Richard Firth/American Red Cross
First Responder Organization:  Colorado Springs Police Department in recognition of their outstanding service and support for the Colorado Springs Community. Sponsored by 1st Bank
Military Heroes:  U.S.A.F. Academy Cadets for their service to southeastern Colorado communities and specifically the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. Sponsored by  ENT
Girl Scout Troop 4624 with Military Hero
U.S.A.F Academy Cadets. Photo by
Richard Firth/American Red Cross
Military Hero:  Corporal Jeffery Miller for his quick action and invaluable contribution to the health and safety of the civilian and military personnel involved in a motor vehicle accident not far from his aid station. Sponsored by USAA
Community Service Hero:  Randy Sirota for his continuous support for the homeless and less fortunate people of Colorado Springs. Sponsored by Fox 21 News
Community Partner Hero: Crawford House for their efforts to improve the lives of veterans in Colorado and adjoining states. Sponsored by Phil Long Dealerships.

Many thanks were also extended to emcee Joe Cole, Vicki Cederholm, and the volunteers of the Red Cross.  Also to our media partners The Gazette and Fox/21 News.

About the room I heard “We are dedicated to serving the community”.  “It’s just a part of my job.”  “His mission is to help others.”  “It’s not about me.”   This is what heroes say.

Leaving the event I heard “What a wonderful program.”  “I am so glad I could attend and thank these heroes.”  “This was such a meaningful program.”  This is what a grateful Colorado Springs community says.

Congratulations to our Hometown Heroes and a big thanks to our sponsors!

If you are interested in contributing to our community through the efforts of the Red Cross, please visit our website for volunteer opportunities that may appeal to you. Go online to and click on volunteer.  Whether in a disaster or special interest project, your time and talents will be very much appreciated.  Check it out!

More photos from the 2016 Colorado Springs Hometown Heroes Dinner are available for viewing on Flickr at

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