American Red Cross Honoring Southwestern New York’s Hometown Heroes

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Article Contributed by
American Red Cross

The American Red Cross will honor several people for extraordinary courage at its annual Hometown Heroes Breakfast, Sponsored by Cummins, Inc., Jamestown Engine Plant, on Wednesday, May 16 at 7:30 a.m. at Moon Brook Country Club, 2879 North Main Street Extension in Jamestown.

The Hometown Heroes Breakfast celebrates the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering by recognizing people from throughout the region who have performed heroic acts during times of crisis. The heroes include first responders as well as ordinary citizens who performed life-saving acts. 

Proceeds from the Hometown Heroes Breakfast benefit the Red Cross, which provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Last year, Western New York volunteers responded to 353 local disaster incidents, most of them home fires, assisting 587 families; installed 1,640 free smoke alarms as part of the Home Fire Campaign; trained 24,261 people in first aid, CPR and water safety skills; reconnected 825 military families via emergency communication services; and collected 36,193 blood donations from volunteer donors.

2018 Hometown Heroes:

Humanitarian, Sponsored by Jamestown Mattress: – Ron Johnson, Jamestown

Johnson has been a long-standing member of the Kiantone Fire Department, from driving the trucks to fixing equipment to volunteering at every fundraiser.

Humanitarian. Sponsored by Wegmans – Eric Herman, Bemus Point

Herman, a firefighter with the Jamestown Fire Department, purchased a custom hockey jersey and Jamestown Fire Department hat for a young boy  he recently met with special needs, just one of the random acts of kindness he performs regularly.

Fire Fighter, Sponsored by Cummins – Charles Piazza, Falconer

During a massive fire in the Village of Falconer, Chief Piazza dedicated two days commanding over 200 firefighters who helped bring one of the largest fires in Chautauqua County under control.

Law Enforcement, Sponsored by Lakewood Rod & Gun Club-
Officer Erik Kraft & K-9 Mitchell, Bemus Point

On November 16, 2016, K-9 Mitchell was stabbed when he and Jamestown Police Department Officer Kraft confronted an accused murder suspect. The suspect was taken into custody, and Mitchell has made a full recovery. The incident resulted in bi-partisan support for Mitchell’s Law, increasing the penalties for killing or injuring a police dog or horse.

Emergency Personnel/Medical, Sponsored by EcoStrategies/Forecon –
Ed Sandberg, Jamestown

Despite his own medical and family challenges, Sandberg continues to dedicate his life in service to the Kiantone Fire Department, driving an ambulance or firetruck on calls daily.

Youth Good Samaritan, Sponsored by Cummins – Vinny Certo, Lakewood

Certo has wanted to be a firefighter since he was a little boy. After joining the Lakewood Fire Department on his 17th birthday, he responded to 277 class in his first eight months, and was in the top ten alarm responders and in drill attendance.

Animal Rescue, Sponsored by Nestle Purina Petcare –
Beverli Horroks, Buren Point

Horrocks has been a volunteer foster parent for Sadie’s Safe Harbor Canine Rescue since August of 2015, fostering over 16 animals brought in from kill shelters in Ohio, West Virginia, and Texas.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.