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American Red Cross Honors Thurston & Mason Counties Heroes

They exemplify the power of the human spirit and the mission of the Red Cross. --Tracy Peacock

The American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter announced today that it will honor 12 people throughout Thurston and Mason counties for heroic acts at its 16th Annual Heroes Breakfast on Friday, April 27 from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at Saint Martin's University Marcus Pavilion in Lacey.

“The Red Cross Heroes Breakfast recognizes those special people in our communities who go above and beyond to help others,” said Tracy Peacock, chapter executive for the Mount Rainier Chapter. “They exemplify the power of the human spirit and the mission of the Red Cross.”

The annual breakfast raises critical funds to help support local Red Cross programs and services. The Chehalis Tribe is this year’s major sponsor. Award sponsors are Columbia Bank, Group Health Cooperative, Puget Sound Energy and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. Guests must RSVP ahead of time to 253.441.7615.


Molly McIver will receive the Workplace Hero Award for helping Jim Sheerer save his wife Jan Sheerer from choking at their Thurston County home. Last June, McIver, a local 9-1-1 dispatcher, helped keep Jim Sheerer calm as she talked him through the steps to perform abdominal thrusts and CPR on his wife of 46 years. Her actions saved Jan Sheerer’s life.

Teal Russell will receive the Water Rescue Award for saving a man who nearly drowned at Henderson Inlet last September. As Russell left her parent’s house, she heard a distant cry for help. She followed the cries to the water where she saw a capsized kayak across the bay with a man floating on his back in the cold water. She paddled out in her kayak to bring the man back to shore and saved his life.

Danny Gabriel will receive the Military Hero Award for helping soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries or physical disabilities. An Olympia native, Gabriel founded the Wounded Veterans Fishing Program, which takes soldiers on fishing trips across Puget Sound where they can relax and begin to heal. He has helped hundreds of people over the past several years.

Nancy Jenrette, John Senner, Susie Senner, Tammy Brower, Mike Willie, Mike Dearborn and Jeanne McDonald will receive the Medical Rescue Award for saving the life of Mike McDonald during a bike ride at McLane Creek Nature last November. During the ride, Mike McDonald suffered from ventricular arrhythmia, which can lead to death if not treated immediately. The cyclists came to his rescue, called 9-1-1 and took turns performing CPR until the paramedics arrived. Mike McDonald is alive because the group refused to give up.

Elmer Bensinger and Cody McIntyre will receive the Good Samaritan Award for rescuing a Yelm man from hypothermia and likely death. Last November, the two men were driving home from work when they came across Stan Sherr who was disoriented and crawling outside in the cold near his stuck vehicle. They immediately stopped, wrapped him in a blanket and took him to their truck. They stayed with Sherr until medical attention arrived. Yelm emergency responders credit Bensinger and McIntyre for saving the man’s life.

The American Red Cross is a nonprofit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information, visit, or