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American Red Cross in Utah Names Community Heroes

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Contact: Teresa Zundel, (801) 707-7535,

SALT LAKE CITY, February 22, 2013 -- Thirteen Utahns from the Salt Lake City area have been named Utah Red Cross Community Heroes for acts of exceptional courage, compassion and service. They will be honored at an award luncheon on March 13, 2013 at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reporters and photographers are invited to attend. Interview and photo opportunities will be available immediately following the event, or contact Teresa Zundel at 801-707-7535 to schedule advance interviews.

Red Cross Heroes from the Ogden, Provo, and St. George areas will also be honored during a series of events in their communities across the state throughout March and early April. Names of Red Cross Heroes Awards winners from these communities will be released later this month.

2013 Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter Red Cross Heroes

1.Lifetime Achievement Award

Brad Wiggins, Ronald Fife and Kristen Quinn have worked together for nearly 20 years to help children recover from traumatic burn injuries.

2.First Responder Award (posthumous)

Aaron Beesley, a 13-year veteran of the Utah Highway Patrol, lost his life while assisting in the rescue of two hikers stranded on Mount Olympus.

3.Good Samaritan Award

Double amputee Samoana (Sam) Matagi creates instructional videos to help other amputees learn to use prosthetic devices.

4.Good Samaritan Award:

Off-duty first responder Captain Brandon Moore risked his personal safety to assist a critically injured automobile accident victim.

5.Educator Award

Gail Williamson founded an inclusion-model school where children with disabilities and children without disabilities help each other learn.

6.Community Preparedness Award

Judy Watanabe played a key role in planning and executing the 2012 Great Utah Shake Out.

7.Youth Good Samaritan Award

Tanner Maxfield donated proceeds from the sale of his prize-winning steer to pay for the funeral expenses of the mother of a three-year old child who suffers from cerebral palsy.

8.International Award

Chris and Susan McCandless organize and lead assistance efforts to benefit the impoverished citizens of Piedras Negras, Mexico.

9.Community Service Award

During last summer’s wildfires, Lt. Carrie Hecht went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that dozens of evacuated animals were safe and well cared for.

10.Personal Preparedness Award

Travis Thorson utilized his preparedness skills to help save a man who was seriously injured during an explosion.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at