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Five Siouxland Residents Honored as Heroes of the Heartland

Each year, the American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa honors common citizens, the unheralded and unselfish pillars of our community.

Each year, the American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa honors common citizens, the unheralded and unselfish pillars of our community. Heroes of the Heartland not only recognizes these heroes but also raises funds to help ensure that the American Red Cross will be prepared and best equipped to help people with food, shelter and comfort during emergencies.

Watch the full story here:

• Janet Coon, Sioux City – Janet is a teacher at Sioux City East High School Academic Enhancement Center, but her dedication to her students goes beyond school. Janet started "Clothes Closet," which is an area in her classroom where students can borrow clothing for job interviews or if they need clothes to keep. Janet also started "Food for Thoughts" which packs nutritious lunch bags for students to take home for the weekend. Many school families are unemployed or underemployed. One of her students said, "I like going to Mrs. Coon's room because she makes me feel welcome and she believes that I can get my diploma so I believe that too."

• Greg Gregerson, Sioux City – Greg is dedicated to helping those down on their luck get back on their feet. He often drives his employees to and from work. In one instance he drove a husband and wife every day for three months. Greg often helps his employees understand legal documents or points them in the direction of someone who can help. In the meantime Greg also works with the community theater. Many say there wouldn't be a community theater without the work of Greg Gregerson.

• Fritz Gual, Le Mars – On April 13, 2013, Frances "Fritz" Gaul and Darwin Needs were working at Wells Enterprises, Inc., when Darwin said he didn't feel well. Fritz, who's trained in CPR and first aid, immediately recognized symptoms of a heart attack and took action. Fritz instructed others to call for an ambulance and had him lie down. Doctors later told Darwin that he was lucky he was near someone who understood what to do, because even a few minutes without proper care could have been fatal.

• Jody Ohm, Le Mars – Jody, a Le Mars EMT, used an AED and CPR to help save a co-worker's life. Jody didn't stop there. Afterward, she spoke with other co-workers who had witnessed the incident to make sure they were emotionally ok, and to re-enforce the need to take immediate and to get help in those situations. Jody has been an EMT for more than 20 years and has responded to many incidents where she has helped save lives, but this time her talent was used at work to save a co-worker.

• Marilyn Reitsma, Cherokee – Marilyn has been dedicated to the American Red Cross for more than 20 years, first as an employee, and then after retiring as a volunteer. Marilyn believes in doing good and helping others, and is known as the heart and soul of the Red Cross in Cherokee. Marilyn is devoted to her community and is also very involved in raising money for activities across Cherokee County.