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Red Cross ‘real heroes’ to be recognized at Feb. 5 breakfast


What do a Spanish teacher, young teenagers, a retired physician and lifeguard have in common?

They’re all heroes, according to the American Red Cross of Northern New York. The nonprofit, 203 N. Hamilton St., will host its annual Real Heroes breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Feb. 5 in the ballroom of Samaritan Summit Village, 22691 Campus Drive.

“My favorite story is the Crystal Restaurant,” said Jane G. Gendron, Red Cross chapter executive. “I know Margot Remington, and it is so Margot Remington to get up and do something.”

She referred to the retired physician as being a recipient of the real hero medical award, along with Capt. Jay Branson from Fort Drum’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, because the pair performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation to save an elderly man who choked last March at the Crystal Restaurant, Public Square.

According to a Red Cross news release, the breakfast “celebrates the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering by recognizing people from throughout Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties who performed heroic acts in life-threatening situations.”

“Each time I read one of these, it just amazes me of what people do,” Mrs. Gendron said. “All of our stories this year were really fabulous. The folks that just do these unselfish things, the result is a life saved. When you talk to these people, they say, “I didn’t do anything.’ They’re so humble.”

More than 200 people attended last year’s event at the Hilton Garden Inn, and to make room for more, the breakfast was relocated to the senior-care complex, off of outer Washington Street. Mrs. Gendron said a sell-out crowd would be 300 people.

Proceeds from the event, sponsored by National Grid, will benefit the agency, which helps victims of disasters and helps prevent and prepare for emergencies locally. According to the Red Cross news release, from July 2012 to June 20, 2013, the local Red Cross chapter provided more than $86,000 in support to 284 people from 90 families in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Most recently, agency staff and volunteers assisted with the ice storm disaster response efforts, during which it opened three shelters, and provided health counseling, blankets, cots, personal hygiene items and hot meals.

In addition to Dr. Remington and Capt. Branson, the following awards will be given out to north country residents:

n Adult Good Samaritan Award: to Jennifer Berie, a Sackets Harbor Central School Spanish teacher who donated one of her kidneys to a former student, Nicholas Thompson, after no matches were found with his family and close friends.

n Animal Rescue Award: to Marena Harris, Heuvelton, who rescued a chocolate Labrador puppy named Dukette from the yard of a burning Oswegatchie home last year.

nBlood Donor Award: to Fort Drum, as the military installation has most recently provided the most units of blood in the American Red Cross New York-Pennsylvania Blood Services Region. The 10 blood drives held at Fort Drum last year collected 690 units of blood — enough to save more than 2,000 lives.

n Education Award: to Amber Long and Christine Gardner, who in June, two months after Mrs. Long had been recertified by the Red Cross in adult and pediatric first aid, saved the life of her choking 5-year-old son, Kadin, by performing CPR with Mrs. Gardner, her neighbor.

n Fire Rescue Award: to Craig Legault, Oswegatchie, who ran upstairs to rescue his 4-year-old son, Carson, after a fire started in his home last June.

n Good Neighbor Award: to Nick Miller and Trevor Moulton, Madrid, both of whom were 14 when they rescued an elderly woman who had fallen in the snow and couldn’t get home.

n Law Enforcement Award: to Joseph Giaquinto and Amanda Gauthier, Watertown police officers who responded to an unwanted person complaint at a city residence in August and prevented a man from taking his own life.

n Medical Award: to Scott Sanford, a full-time emergency responder with Fort Drum Fire and Emergency Services and a longtime volunteer firefighter in Boonville, who, dispatched in late September for a woman in labor at Fort Drum, ended up helping to deliver a healthy baby girl while on the way to Samaritan Medical Center.

n Military Award: to Spc. Joel DiStefano, who, on leave from Fort Drum and traveling in April to Watertown from his hometown of Huttonsville, W.Va., came to the aid of three girls who had flipped their car while driving home from spring break.

n Water Safety Award: to Nicholas Netto, a lifeguard for the Watertown Parks and Recreation Department, who used his experience and training this past summer to rescue a drowning woman at Alteri Municipal Pool.

n Youth Good Samaritan Award: to Lacie Thomas, 13, Watertown, who, as a passenger in her aunt Christan Cooper’s car in July when Mrs. Cooper’s car plunged into the Black River, unhooked 2-year-old Zachary Cooper’s car seat, pushed him to the surface and then helped pull Mrs. Cooper and Zachary to the shore.

n 911 Dispatch Award: to John Friot Jr. and Dustin Lottie, state park police officers, who responded to a 911 call about a wayward boat on the St. Lawrence River and took control of an unconscious man’s 28-foot cabin cruiser.

Here are some key facts of the Red Cross of Northern New York’s 2nd annual Real Heroes breakfast:
• When: 7:30 to 9 a.m. Feb. 5 n Where: Samaritan Summit Village, 22691 Campus Drive n Tickets: $25 per person. To preregister, call 234-2225 by Jan. 31. n Sponsorship: Call chapter executive Jane G. Gendron at 782-4410 to become a sponsor
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