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8th Annual Heroes Breakfast Honors Local Heroes, Springfield

The 8th annual American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast took place on Friday morning, April 19 the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. The event was presented by the Bank of Springfield, with all proceeds benefitting the Illinois Capital Area Chapter American Red Cross local disaster relief, which aids local disaster victims.

The breakfast honored a group of local heroic individuals across nine hero categories. The winners were nominated by other individuals from the public and were chosen by a volunteer group of judges. This year’s winners were:

Luke McConnell & Kyle Ladd – Community Heroes

Used 2-person CPR to save the life of a Shelbyville teenager.

Scott & Connie Payne – Civic Heroes

Husband/wife duo who run the Inner City Mission in Springfield, which offers safe place for homeless people, specifically women and children.

Gail Niehuas – Education Hero

A retired pre-K teacher who taught for 30 years in Central Illinois and established the pre-K program in her town.

Anita Hayes – Senior Hero

91-year-old who volunteers with District 186 in Springfield.

Rebecca Wiggins – Youth Hero

Sixth grader from Taylorville who since second grade, has been sending care packages to the troops and raising money for the “Soldier’s Angels” project, which helps military veterans.

Patriot Guard Riders – Military Hero

Comprised of nearly 4,000 volunteer riders throughout the state/Central Illinois who escort motorcades and attend the funerals of fallen serviceman/women to pay respects and shield families from outside protestors.

Hannah Knight – Workplace Hero

Employee at My Friend’s Discovery Center Daycare in Springfield who performed Infant CPR on a newborn baby who stopped breathing at the daycare center and saved its life.

Angela Brooks – Healthcare Hero

Nurse at SIU School of Medicine who used CPR to save the life of a man involved in traffic accident after blood clots in his heart caused him to be “on death’s doorstep.”

Paula Morrow – Public Safety Hero

A detective with the Springfield Police Department who investigates sex crimes/abuse against children.

In addition, six winners of the American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast “Youth Writing Contest” will also be honored for their creative pieces about their personal heroes. The six were chosen from among 250 entries by volunteer judges.

The public can learn more about the Red Cross Illinois Capital Area Chapter by visiting or calling 217-787-7602.