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Bremerton Selects Real Heroes

The American Red Cross Serving King & Kitsap Counties today announced those who will be honored in Bremerton on March 10, 2011 for their heroic acts in the past year. Nine award categories will be represented by forteen individuals and one local organization at the twelfth Annual American Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast brought to the public by State Farm Insurance.

The 2011 Real Heroes Breakfast will be held from 7:00-9:00 a.m. on Thursday March 10, 2011 at the Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside. Reservations are required and available by calling (360)-478-7686; a donation will be requested at the event. All proceeds will support Red Cross services in Kitsap and North Mason Counties.

Majors Sponsors include: Title Sponsor State Farm Insurance, The Suquamish Tribe, Kitsap SUN Newspaper, United Moving and Storage, Bethel Avenue Book Company, Kitsap Credit Union, Group Health, KPS Health Plans, Harrison Medical Center, Puget Sound Energy, Watson Furniture Group, Ed Panfili Financial Services, Rebecca Guthrie and JB Hall.

The Heroes and Their Stories:

Hero: Phyllis Mann and Kitsap County Department of Emergency management

Category: Commitment to Community

Sponsor: West Sound American Red Cross Leadership Council

Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management (KCDEM).

Phyllis Mann is the director of the KCDEM, which is no small task. The KCDEM is responsible for providing the emergency and disaster needs of the greater Kitsap County area including the cities of Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Poulsbo, Port Orchard and the unincorporated areas of Silverdale. Kitsap County has had its share of local disasters in recent years¬? severe floods, wind storms, snow storms and extended power outages to name a few.

Since 1991, Phyllis has directed the organization and made some impressive achievements. With her leadership, KCDEM helped prepare a model emergency management plan for the Kitsap County schools, which became accepted and printed as the Washington State School Model Emergency Management Plan and Guide Book. Phyllis is an active supporter of FEMA’s Community and Family Preparedness Program, and she and her staff have developed a disaster reserve program for Kitsap County similar to FEMA’s national program.

KCDEM regularly brings together local, state and federal government agencies, hospitals, schools, businesses and non-profits like the Red Cross in large scale drills to help prepare our community.

Phyllis and her staff’s commitment to disaster relief extends to providing care to those who often go unnoticed. Most recently, KCDEM took a key role in organizing emergency shelter services for Kitsap’s homeless population. KCDEM oversees a cadre of volunteers who have been trained in shelter operations by the Red Cross. The homeless population can count on a safe place to sleep when temperatures approach freezing thanks to this planning.

Through Phyllis’ leadership and her staff’s commitment to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, KCDEM leads in efforts of partnering to prepare.

Hero: Detective Gary Drake, Suquamish Police Department

Category: Law Enforcement

Sponsor: United Moving and Storage

In early February of 2010, Suquamish police detective Gary Drake was in the field and heard a dispatch for a near-by house fire. Familiar with the address, Gary knew the resident was an older gentleman who used a wheelchair and had limited mobility. He set off toward the fire.

When he pulled up to the house, smoke billowed from the home. He quickly approached and knocked on the front door. No one answered, so he forced the door open and was engulfed in black smoke.

Crouched low, he searched the house for the resident. Gary found him in the hallway and carried him outside where he could breathe fresh air. Fearing additional people were inside the home, the officer re-entered the house.

As he went back in, he noticed fire coming from the couch and chair, but found no other people in the house. He returned to his vehicle, retrieved a fire extinguisher and went back to help extinguish the flames as the fire department arrived.

“Officer Drake did a good job with this rescue,” said Mike Lasnier, Suquamish Police Chief. He was able to safely get this man out of the burning house. Yes, these were heroic actions.”

Hero: Jane Stewart and Judy Eastman

Category: CPR

Sponsor: Harrison Medical Center

Mark Grindrod has been a member of the Poulsbo Yacht Club for years and is an active participant in the club’s volunteer maintenance program. In January 2010, the club decided to replace its water-damaged wooden clubhouse floor, and called on its volunteers to help complete the project.

Mark arrived early to join a group of club members volunteering. “Mark was really working hard and hauling out a lot of the old wood in garbage cans,” said fellow volunteer Jane Stewart. He was on his hands and knees working. When he stood up quickly, he suddenly collapsed to the floor and hit his head on the door jam.

Fortunately for Mark, two trained nurses were standing close by. Jane Stewart and Judy Eastman immediately came to Mark’s aid, asked a fellow member to call 9-1-1 and evaluated Mark’s condition. They found his pulse to be weak and his breathing labored. Shortly, both stopped and Mark’s skin color became ashen.

Jane began chest compressions, while Judy tilted his head, opened his airway and gave rescue breaths. They continued their life-saving efforts until medics arrived with an automated external defibrillator. The medics administered shocks restoring his heart rhythm and transported him to Harrison Medical Center.

“They are my angels,” said Mark’s wife Marilyn. She teared up as she explained, “I have been a Red Cross aquatics and CPR instructor for many years. I can only hope that a scenario like this plays out for any of the students that I work with,”

Jane and Judy’s training in CPR helped save Mark’s life. Jane says simply, “I was lucky to be able to do CPR!” Mark was very lucky, too.

Hero: Kohl Serwold

Category: Pet Rescue

Sponsor: Kitsap SUN

Fourteen-year-old Kohl Serwold was mowing his lawn while his dog, Kali, was running around and playing with the neighbor’s dog. The next time he saw the dogs, his neighbor’s dog was staring out at the bay and Kali was just a dot in the water. Kali had paddled into the water much farther than normal, enticed by seals playing off-shore. Kohl called to her, but, Kali only swam further away.

“I realized she was going to need help and when I was first walking down to get her I was more worried about her and I didn’t think about my safety,” said Kohl. “She was far out and I wanted to get to her, but to be honest, I saw my neighbors out there I knew my dad was going to hear about it, and my dad is like ‘Mr. Life Vest,’ so I went back and put on a life jacket and went out and got her.”

As neighbors watched, Kohl had a serious choice: Jump in the kayak as quickly as possible to save his dog in distress or take an extra minute and put on his lifejacket before starting his rescue attempt.

Kohl, followed the family rule, put on his lifejacket, climbed into his kayak and paddled toward Kali. By the time he reached her, the dog was in trouble. She tried to scramble onto the kayak. The dog jumped on, then off the kayak, knocking away Kohl’s paddle at one point and nearly capsizing it.

Kohl finally pulled Kali on board, waited as she sat down to safety, and paddled back to shore. The seals followed, at times close enough to touch. As they reached shore neighbors cheered. Thanks to Kohl, both of them were safe.

Hero: Duane Miller and Robert Paulsen

Category: First Aid

Sponsor: Kristi Greene

While performing a routine vehicle identification check, Kitsap County Sheriff Office Citizens on Patrol (COPS) officers Duane Miller and Robert Paulsen found themselves and a citizen at the mercy of 2,000 pound bull.

Earlier in the day, the two officers were called to a livestock pasture in South Kitsap to perform a VIN (Vehicle Identical Number) check on an abandoned car. They were accompanied by the resident of the property, a 22-year-old woman.

As Officers Miller and Paulsen checked the car, they were confronted by a bull that was upset by their presence in his pasture. The young woman tried to persuade the bull to leave by striking him with a piece of wood. Enraged, the bull charged the woman, knocked her down and tried to crush and gore her.

In an instant, both officers realized the woman was in grave danger. They formulated a plan without discussion. While Officer Paulsen distracted the bull, Officer Miller dragged the woman to safety outside the pasture.

Officer Paulsen fell as he moved around the muddy pasture. The bull started to push Robert, puncturing his leg with his horns. Suddenly, Robert, remembered his days on a Nebraska farm and jammed his fist into the bull’s nose. Stunned, the bull disengaged and Robert escaped the pasture. Once away, the officers tended to the woman’s injuries, applied pressure to her wounds, watched for signs of shock and radioed for assistance. The young woman was transported to a regional medical facility for treatment.

Both officers recovered from their unexpected ordeal and are back performing COPS duties.

“The fast reaction and performance under pressure of these two volunteer citizens, who placed themselves in certain danger while in the protection of life, is the reason this young woman is alive today,” said Sheriff Steve Boyer.

Heroes: Charles Burhoop, Randy Horton and Bret Halffman

Category: Workplace Safety

Sponsor: Group Health

“We work with forklifts and cranes and heavy equipment, moving anything heavy,” said Charles Burhoop, a rigger at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

Along with the equipment comes responsibility.

“We have to concentrate a lot on procedures and making sure that we follow those procedures, otherwise we can get seriously hurt or damage a valuable piece of equipment,” added Randy Horton.

For riggers and crane operators, training is accepted as a way of life. All personnel are required to have current certifications to make sure they are as safe as they can be on the job.

Last May, four operators were in training. Al Bailey laid his head down on the desk and leaned to one side. His co-worker looked over at him, gave him a jab and said, “Come on Al the class isn’t that boring.” Al fell out of the chair and onto the floor.

Classmates, Bret Halffman and Charles Burhoop immediately assessed the scene for safety, checked Al’s vital signs and started CPR.

The instructor went for help, going classroom to classroom asking if anyone else knew CPR.

Randy Horton, who was in another classroom, heard the call for help, ran to Al and assisted with the chest compressions. The men continued their efforts for seven minutes until medics arrived with an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and restored rhythm to Al’s heart.

Al was transported to Harrison Medical Center, but medics engaged their AED three times to keep him alive before he arrived.

“If it was not for their immediate actions in performing chest compressions and rescue breathing until our unit arrived I feel the outcome would have been much different,” said Terry Anderson Assistant Chief EMS, Navy Region Northwest Fire and Emergency Services.

Three AEDs have now been installed in this building as a direct result of this incident.

Heroes: Bailey Victoria Re

Category: Water Rescue

Sponsor: KPS Health Plans

The beam exercise is Liese Watson’s favorite part of gymnastics, so it was no wonder she followed her friends onto the log. The gymnastics team was having a summer sleepover. It was supposed to be a fun event where the girls could get together play games, tell stories and spend time together as a team.

The fun nearly turned to tragedy as darkness fell and the gymnasts decided to walk along a log that spanned a deep pond. Liese, then only eight-years-old, carefully walked after her teammates on the moss-covered log. Suddenly, she lost her footing and fell into the pond. Liese didn’t know how to swim and began to panic as the water reached her shoulders.

“She didn’t scream,” said fellow gymnast and friend, Bailey Re, “she was just kind of flailing around.” Liese tried to grasp the tree branches, but they were too slippery and she couldn’t pull herself to safety.

Other girls rushed to help, but eleven-year-old Bailey was closest to her friend. Bailey steadied herself on the log, reached in, and tugged Liese from the water. The two girls held each other tight as they crossed the log to safety. With help from the other girls, they got Liese to the adults who made sure she was uninjured, safe and dry.

Bailey credits her parents for teaching her water safety and how to swim.

Liese’s mother was very thankful to Bailey for her quick actions. “Without a doubt, she is a hero. She saved Liese when she fell in the water, exhibited quick thinking and possibly saved my daughter from drowning.”

Hero: EN2 Eryk Maroon, USN

Category: Military

Sponsor: Kitsap Credit Union

Petty Officer Eryk Maroon was on leave from Iraq, enjoying his time with girlfriend Rachel Cummings and friends in Bremerton. They were enjoying the company of friends at Rachel’s house.

As one of the friends left and opened the door, Eryk heard a woman screaming, “Fire, fire.” The screaming got louder. Eryk looked out the door to see smoke coming from the unit across the way.

He ran from Rachel’s house to the screaming woman, “She had a fire extinguisher in her hand, which was kind of odd to me,” said Eryk. “I grabbed that from her.” Eryk entered the unit as the woman and her children ran out.

At this point, Eryk’s fire response training he received in the Navy took over. Eryk checked the scene for victims. Seeing none, he concentrated on putting out the fire.

“It started on the stove top and got a little out of hand like no one was paying attention,” said Eryk. “Something must have fell down because the linoleum on the ground was on fire, the countertop was on fire, the backdrop behind the actual oven was on fire, and the cabinets above was actually on fire,”

Using the fire extinguisher he had taken from the woman, he tried to stop the fire from spreading. He emptied the first extinguisher and used another Rachel handed him from her home to keep blaze under control.

The fire department soon arrived. Firefighters complemented Eryk on his effort saying he was deserving of a special award for confining the fire and preventing its spread.

Heroes: Peter Deardorf and Robin Adair

Category: Good Neighbor

Sponsor: State Farm

Pete Deardorff was running late. His five minute stop at Safeway had turned into a fifteen minute “good deed” as he assisted a fellow shopper who had fallen and injured her leg. As he drove and focused on getting home, he glanced down a side road and saw a house on fire.

He pulled over to the house and called 9-1-1. Outside of the burning home, he met a woman who he asked if anyone was left in the house. The woman screamed, “Yes, my two daughters!”

Robin Adair and her boyfriend drove by the house, saw the smoke and knew they had to help. Robin jumped out of the car, ran towards the house where Pete told her what was happening.

Robin found the woman beside the house trying to reach a window so that she could go back into the house and save her daughters. The window was six feet off the ground and too high to reach alone. Thinking quickly, Robin had the woman boost her to the window where she punched out the screen. As smoke poured out, Robin dived into the room. The woman yelled the location of her baby’s crib to Robin who quickly found the infant. As she tried to leave the house, she became lost in the smoke. Holding the baby close, she followed her boyfriend’s shouts to guide her to the window. When she finally reached it, she handed the baby out to him and followed out the window to safety.

Pete was in front of the house when he saw the other little girl inside. “She looked terrified,” said Pete. He tried to get her to come to the window and open the latch, but the four-year-old was too afraid to move. Pete motioned for her to get behind the back of the couch. He then knocked out the window, leapt into the house, grabbed the girl and got out as quickly as possible.

Everyone was able to walk away from the burning house. Within three minutes, fire consumed everything the family owned, but every member of the family was safe.

“I have never witnessed anything more courageous or heroic than what [they] did,” Mason County Fire Chief Beau Bakken said.


The American Red Cross is the country’s leading disaster relief organization, providing immediate emergency relief to people in need and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Led by nearly a million volunteers, Red Cross trains more than 11.7 million people in vital lifesaving skills and responds to more than 70,000 disasters across the nation. All Red Cross disaster relief is free, funded through the generosity of the American people. For more information about American Red Cross programs and services locally, visit our web site at or call 360-377-3761.

Media Contact: Janet Heath, West Sound Director, 360. 377.3761 ext 10201