2018 Vermont Hero Award Recipients

Vermont Red Cross Hero

Gerald Hornung Shelburne, VT (Chittenden County)

Gerald “Jed” Hornung has been volunteering for the American Red Cross for more than 70 years. Jed’s tireless work for the Red Cross began at an early age. Jed took on leadership of his local Junior Red Cross (JRC) chapter in Oklahoma City. After a series of city, state and regional elections throughout the Mid-West, Jed became the first-ever Youth Chairman of the National Advisory Committee for the JRC. As its Youth Chairman, Jed traveled across the U.S. speaking to thousands of people on behalf of the Red Cross culminating in 1947, when Jed was the youth speaker at the National Red Cross Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, which was attended by more than 4,000 adults and 1,000 young people from across the U.S. Today, Jed lives in Vermont with his wife, Jini, and continues to support and advocate for the American Red Cross.


Vermont Red Cross Hero

Ilka Pritchard Burlington, VT (Chittenden County)

In 2014, Ilka Pritchard volunteered for an event called the Spectrum Sleep Out, a fundraiser for Spectrum Youth and Family Services. Since then, she’s become one of Spectrum’s most dedicated volunteers as well as volunteering for The Empty Bowl, Spectrum’s other annual fundraiser. On Thanksgiving Day, you’ll find her preparing hot meals for Spectrum kids. In a recent blog post for Spectrum, Ilka wrote, “It is my wish that the youth we serve feel the love and care that we put into these efforts and that it gives them hope --- because hope is something money can’t buy.”


Vermont Red Cross Hero

Cameron Greene Rutland, VT (Rutland County)

Cameron Greene was outside having lunch when he noticed his friend, Joe Anderson, desperately signaling that he couldn’t breathe. Cameron recalled an emergency aid poster that used to hang just outside the school lunchroom, and, remembering its instructions, he began to apply abdominal thrusts, which dislodged the obstruction from Joe’s throat. While many adults take First Aid and CPR classes, wondering if they’ll know what to do when that critical moment arises, Cameron’s quick reaction resulted in Joe’s ability to breathe again.


Vermont Red Cross Hero

Jeremy Dunster Graniteville, VT (Washington County)

Jeremey Dunster was just starting his day, when his dog Carmen began to whine as if something was wrong. Jeremy took her outside to discover that the two-family apartment building next door to his home was in flames. After notifying his own family and calling for help, Jeremy ran to the burning building, where he forced in the door of the downstairs resident and helped him out of the building. He then fought his way upstairs through the flames to alert a woman and her teenaged son, who lived on the second story. Thanks to Jeremy’s heroic efforts and quick thinking, with a notable assist from Carmen, only one person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, and the devastating fire claimed no casualties.


Vermont Red Cross Hero

Norwich University, Northfield, VT (Washington County)

For more than a decade, Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont has been hosting student-driven semi-annual blood drives on campus. These drives are notoriously successful, and since 2006 they have collected more than 8,600 units of blood. In October of 2017, dozens of cadets from the University participated in a Sound the Alarm event in nearby Williamstown, Vermont where they installed 466 smoke alarms in local homes, making it the most successful single-day smoke alarm installation event in our New Hampshire / Vermont region. These events and so many more are made possible by Norwich University’s Center for Civic Engagement. The work of Norwich University students in their community is a shining example of youth leadership and academic engagement in service of others. Accepting the award on behalf of Norwich University are Meredith Halik and Jack Labonte, who have been instrumental in organizing the blood drives in recent years, and Aidan Gaffney who coordinated cadet participation in Sound the Alarm.