Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Southern Colorado Hometown Heroes

We all hope that when something happens we will be the one to step up and do the right thing. Almost daily we hear stories about people, just regular people who have done just that. They have stepped out of their comfort zone and decided to make a difference. They didn't have super powers, just a caring heart and the willingness to help. Every year the Red Cross seeks out those hero stories so that we can recognize them for their compassion and strength to make a difference. That recognition happens at a dinner that also serves as a fund raising event for the American Red Cross.

Our 2016 Heroes for the Colorado Springs Hometown Heroes Dinner will be recognized on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

This year Phil Long Ford is the Title Sponsor for the 2016 Colorado Springs Hometown Heroes Dinner.

Humanitarian Award -  Steve Schuck  - Sponsored by a consortium of individual and corporate donations.
In recognition of his humanitarian work that has improved the community and the lives of fellow citizens through his philanthropy and leadership.

Steve Schuck’s leadership has extended to many community and civic challenges, including being a trustee of the Daniels Fund and Board positions with Alliance for School Choice, Life Skills Center, Rocky Mountain Community Foundation, Step 13, the Bighorn Center, the Colorado Alliance for Reform in Education, Independence Institute (past Chairman), CACI, Kids Voting, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, Pikes Peak Y-USO, Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts, Western National Bank, Penrose Hospital, National Jewish Hospital, and the UCCS and CU Foundations.

First Responder Heroes - Bo Hutchinson and Cameron Halverson  Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente
Colorado Springs Fire Department Paramedic Bo Hutchinson and Firefighter Cameron Halverson responded to the mass shooting at Planned Parenthood on November 27, 2015 as members of the Colorado Springs Fire Department Tactical Emergency Medical Services (CSFD TEMS) Unit. Both Hutchinson and Halverson supported the Colorado Springs Police Department’s entry teams during this active shooter incident and helped rescue and stabilize those injured by the suspect. Hutchinson and Halverson have been supporting members of the TEMs program. Their training and selfless service helped make a critical difference in saving others during an extremely dangerous event.

Adult Hero - Arron Albin   Sponsored by First Bank
Ken and Donna Holexa were lucky to have their son-in-law, Arron Albin, with them on the day their home was struck by lightning.  Arron recognized that the house was on fire and came in yelling for those in the house to get out. Arron carried Donna, who is disabled, out of the home allowing Ken to get the couple’s dog. He entered the home, putting himself in a dangerous situation, in order to make sure these family members were safe. 

Adult Hero - Michael Hagiwara   Sponsored by El Pomar Foundation
On the morning of November 27, 2015, Michael Hagiwara and his 3-year-old daughter were at the optometrist’s office on Centennial Boulevard when a gunman opened fire at the Planned Parenthood Clinic nearby. As people sheltered in place, Michael sprang into action, first helping to stabilize a blood-covered woman who had collapsed in the office’s lobby.
A Colorado Springs police officer, armed with an assault rifle, covered the entrance to the optometrist’s office to protect the people inside and motioned to get Michael’s help – a man was lying near the concrete curb outside, bleeding with his arm outstretched. The police officer had tried to bring the man in, but he stopped and raised his weapon toward the Planned Parenthood, in the direction of the shooter. Without hesitating, Michael rushed outside, grabbed the injured man’s bloody hand and dragged him more than 10 feet back into the optometrist’s office, to safety.

Community Service Hero - Tim Mitros  Sponsored by Ent Credit Union
When disaster hits a Colorado Springs property, most owners suffer financial and emotional devastation. Yet some are able to call themselves lucky because they work with Tim Mitros. He is a civil engineer in the city’s Office of Emergency Management. He’s known for his big heart, for frequent visits, empathy and encouragement. Professionals laud him for his ability to assemble subject matter experts and collaborate to find solutions to vexing and dangerous engineering challenges. In recent years he has worked with many who were hit by landslides, not to mention the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012 and the ensuing floods of 2013. “As a Bureaucrat, Tim Mitros lives up to the best things local government can give you,” said Dennis Cripps, a retired Army officer and former assistant administration of El Paso County. “it is so easy to ignore this (landslide) because it’s happening so slowly. It’s not like the flooding in Baton Rouge. I know some families going through trauma, divorce, and everything because of this, and you get a guy like Tim who’s a real public servant.” 
Community Partner Hero - Operation TBI Freedom
Operation TBI Freedom (OTF) offers case management services including crisis management, mental health referrals, classes, and emergency assistance for food and housing needs for veterans with traumatic brain injury. OTF supports many service members from Fort Carson. In the past eight years, the nonprofit has assisted more than 1,300 service members.

The OTF staff are all retired military and they use this shared experience to help their brother and sisters in arms who are struggling. At OTF there is a strong sense of family among staff and clients. Having this relationship instills in the staff a responsibility to care for those who need it and to be there when needed.

Adult Hero - Wayne Frazier   Sponsored by BKD 
On the evening of May 22 2016, Wayne Frazier had no idea what an impact he would have on another person’s life. He and his wife Kelsey headed were on their way home from some errands when Wayne noticed the smoke rising from nearby. He headed in that direction and found the back of a home on fire. Jumped out of the car, Wayne began asking the people standing around if anyone was inside and calling toward the house. He heard a voice, so continued into the house. On the first floor, in the front of the house, Wayne encountered an older gentleman sitting at the kitchen table not knowing his house was on fire.  Wayne helped him out of the house and then returned to the kitchen to retrieve the man’s wheelchair. Once Wayne was outside again he and his wife warned the closest neighbors of the fire. As Wayne came back to the front yard the first of the fireman had arrived and Wayne was able to explain what had happened. Wayne then left the firemen to do their work, not wanting any recognition, simply doing what needed to be done.

Military Hero - First Sergeant Lance Anderson   Sponsored by USAA
On May 18, 2016, in southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s, First Sergeant Lance Anderson responded to a civilian contractor plane that had crashed during take-off. Once First Sergeant Anderson learned of the situation and saw the smoke, he immediately jumped in his truck and headed to the crash site. En route, he called and asked a Soldier to alert the tactical operation center and the fire department. Upon arriving at the crash site, he took control of the situation, monitoring all that was going on and delegating tasks to the Soldiers at the scene. Of the nine crew members, two had managed to eject but sustained severe injuries. First Sergeant Anderson had them loaded into his truck and, after ensuring the safety of those left to help near the crash site, brought the two injured individuals to the Battalion Aid Station where they received the necessary emergency medical care. After this immediate attention, both individuals were then medically air evacuated to a higher echelon of care and both survived.  

Animal Hero -Lucca, certified therapy dog    Sponsored by Weidner Apartment Homes
Lucca is a certified Therapy dog that brings happiness and comfort to those in need. Along with his owner, Joan Carney, Lucca visits hospitals, homeless shelters, the airport and more to support individuals who need special attention. Lucca brings his exuberant energy to those that need a “bright spot” in their day. He often visits a mental health facility and most recently went to a local high school where a student had committed suicide to visit with the students. He is often praised for “reading minds” and knowing just who needs some extra happiness. 

2017 Media Sponsors 

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