2015 Real Heroes Breakfast Award Winners

  • CNY Real Heroes

2015 Real Heroes Breakfast Award Winners

Adult Good Samaritan

John DeFeo

DeFeo heard the sound of a two-car collision on Burnet Avenue, Syracuse. When he arrived on the scene to investigate further, he saw a young girl slumped over in the back seat of one of the vehicles. He removed the girl from the vehicle and began performing CPR.

Youth Good Samaritan

Damon Niles

14-year-old Niles put to use what he learned during the Manlius Fire Department’s “Junior Firefighter Academy” when he was awakened by the smell of smoke at his home. He raced to wake his parents and then called 9-1-1. Thanks to his training, he was able to recite the information he knew the firefighters would need; the address, where the smoke and fire was coming from, and the safety of those inside.

Animal Rescue

Nate Farrington

Farrington, an accomplished rock-climber and cave explorer, rescued a female Doberman who had fallen 15 feet into a narrow crevice at Clark Reservation State Park in Jamesville. Firefighters spent several hours in difficult winter conditions trying to rescue the dog, but were unable to reach her. Farrington crawled into the crevice, snared the dog with a catch pole and handed it to the firefighters above who pulled the dog to safety.

Blood Donor

John O’Loughlin

O”Loughlin has been a Red Cross blood donor for decades and proudly professes that he has donated more than 240 units, that’s 30 gallons, since 1992. He has always encouraged family, friends and co-workers to join him in this worthy cause.


Lexi Phillips, Katie Hughes, Will Kovarik, David Petrala, Casey Sawyer and Zach Shaw.

Last June, a school field trip to Jamesville Beach Park almost turned tragic. But the lifeguards saved the day, and the life of a 14-year-old student who nearly drowned. A swimmer yelled to shore that another swimmer was in distress. The lifeguards found the girl nine-feet-deep at the bottom of the reservoir They brought the girl to shore and administered oxygen until an ambulance arrived.

Fire Rescue

Solvay Fire Department; Deputy Chief David Bosco, Deputy Chief Matthew Zingaro, Capt.Tom Rotella Jr., Firefighters Kyle Kinsella, Bryan Griffen, Josh Akkoul, Austin D’Alessandro, Jeremy Cantello, David Hamilton, Tyler Spellman and Adam Tanzella

There was a report of a serious motorcycle accident on a very dark section of the 690 bypass. The first responders could not find the victim. They performed an extensive search, and they eventually found the victim at the bottom of a ravine in very critical condition. They applied a tourniquet and other life-saving measures.

Good Neighbor

Phyllis Tanner

Lucy Cacciotti parked her car at the Boyle Center in Auburn. When she got out of the car she realized that the vehicle wasn’t correctly aligned in the parking spot, so she got back in to straighten it out. She exited the vehicle without putting it into park, and the car began moving down a slope. Cacciotto was being dragged alongside the car. Tanner was nearby and risked her own safety by running to the vehicle, jumping into the passenger side and stopping the vehicle.

Law Enforcement

Syracuse Police Officers Christopher Romano, Michael Smith and William Foster

Officers Romano and Smith were on their way to a dispute call when they noticed smoke billowing from a two-family home. They banged on several doors, and a downstairs resident told them there was a family living in the upstairs apartment. Hearing the radio dispatch, Officer Foster arrived on the scene and the three officers broke down the door of the upstairs apartment which was filled with smoke. There were three people sleeping inside. All the occupants escaped uninjured.


Elizabeth Martin, Dr. Richard Lockwood, Dr. Arthur Vercillo, M.D., Nurse Diane Jillson

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Regional Communications Vice President Liz Martin noticed that co-worker Kurt Brown, the Director of Network Management and Contracting, didn’t look well and wasn’t acting right. Martin convinced him to see Dr. Arthur Vercillo, the company’s regional president at the time. Dr. Vercillo determined that Brown was going into shock. The Emergency Response Team was called. Upon their arrival, Dr. Richard Lockwood and nurse Diana Jillson found that Brown’s heart was beating rapidly and wasn’t pumping blood properly. They called 9-1-1. Paramedics restored Brown’s heart to normal rhythm and transported him to an area hospital.


Rural Metro Ambulance: Tyler Cominsky and Theresa Masello

Bethany Weber’s seven-and-a-half month old daughter fell out of her high chair, landing on a hardwood kitchen floor. Weber, a pediatric nurse, picked up her daughter and the girl suffered a seizure in her arms. Weber called 9-1-1 while also breathing into her daughter’s mouth. Within 6 minutes of the call, paramedics Cominsky and Massello arrived on the scene. The child had no heartbeat, so they performed CPR and transported her to a hospital. During transport, they were able to stabilize her condition with multiple injections of life-saving medications.


Lawrence Gabriel

Gabriel was working as a bouncer at McAvan’s Pub when man with a gun fired several shots into the crowd. Gabriel, along with his fiancée and his cousin, managed to pull the gunman out of the pub ensuring the safety of those inside. During the struggle, Gabriel was shot four times A total of six people were shot. Gabriel is an Army veteran who served in Iraq, and is also a member of the Army Reserves.

Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety SMG (Service Management Group), Gary Butler, Steve Fletcher, John Gianni, Harold Gonzalez, Robert Hayden, Lori Salmonsen, Carl Sternberg, Brandon Southwick, Christy VanOstrand and Meghan Wells

During a concert at the Crouse Hinds Theater, a patron had a medical emergency and was unresponsive. Fire Marshall Gary Butler, Security Coordinator Robert Hayden and an event staffer, Meghan Wells ran to the scene. Butler began to administer CPR. Christy VanOstrand, an R.N who was in attendance, assisted with CPR and AED. Other SMG employees helped secure the perimeter around the patron and a nearby elevator so the patient could be removed for transport.