On May 9, about 400 people gathered to congratulate dozens of local lifesavers at the 2nd annual American Red Cross Lifesaver Awards Breakfast. The signature event, at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, honored 34 lifesavers in 10 categories.
Each of these individuals acted heroically to save the life of another. These lifesavers include those who performed CPR, local volunteers who responded to Superstorm Sandy, and a military staff sergeant who risked his life to save another man.
“It is truly amazing to see so many people show their sincere appreciation for these local lifesavers,” said Cindy Erickson, CEO of the American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region. “They show us what it means to serve the community in a time of need, and we could not be more thankful for what they have done.”
Kay Quinn of KSDK NewsChannel 5 served as the emcee of the event. She presented the awards along with Lifesaver Honorary Chairman Warner Baxter of Ameren Missouri.
More than one-dozen area corporations sponsored the event, including presenting sponsors Anheuser-Busch, Hardee’s, Ameren and Emerson. Other sponsors include Bank of America, Ekon Benefits, Peabody Energy, US Bank, St. Louis Area BP Station Owners, Drury Hotels, American Direct Marketing Resources LLC and KSDK.
Here is a brief synopsis of the categories and respective winners.
Good Samaritan Youth; Sponsored by US Bank
When Brandon Hargrave noticed his friend Bruce Staggs choking on his lunch, he recalled something he had seen on TV about how to save a choking person. He immediately responded to the situation and helped dislodge a piece of food from his friend’s airway.
Law Enforcement; Sponsored by Drury Hotels
Police Officer Nathan Jaeger and Police Officer Mike Hitchcock received a desperate call about a woman trapped in her burning home. They quickly raced to the scene and managed to prop ladders against the home, climbed to the window, and pulled the woman out of her room just as Captain/Paramedic Mike Digman arrived to provide assistance and take her to safety.
Healthcare Professional; Sponsored by KSDK
Dr. Pedro Suarez-Solar and his wife noticed a woman who had collapsed on the floor at a wedding reception. He didn’t hesitate to provide medical attention, including CPR, as she was going in and out of consciousness, until paramedics arrived on scene.
Good Samaritan Adult; Sponsored by BP
Lynn Kannawarf, RN, was driving down the road when she noticed a man lying unconscious on the side of the road surrounded by a group of people. She turned her car around and ran to the man’s side. She performed CPR and was able to miraculously save his life.
Water Safety; Sponsored by Peabody Energy
Police Officer Alexander Fisher responded to a call that he has never faced in his 15 years in police work. A man, caught in the currents of the Mississippi River, was in danger of drowning. Fisher came to his rescue.
Blood Services; Sponsored by Bank of America
For nearly 20 years, Dean Hammann has orchestrated blood drives at his church. Dean has been a vital asset to the church and those in need by helping to collect nearly 2,000 units of blood products. He has brought an awareness to the importance of giving blood to save lives.
Lifesaving Organization; Sponsored by American Direct
Rev. Nathaniel Griffin and Rev. Dr. Jimmy Brown educate pastors and their members about the importance of disaster relief. As part of the Missionary Baptist State Convention of Missouri and the National Baptist Convention, the organizations have responded to almost every disaster since Katrina and were particularly helpful after the Joplin tornado. Through their efforts, member churches have been able to achieve a level of training needed to minister in times of disaster. They also are responsible for large blood drives at the National Baptist State Conventions.
Military; Sponsored by Hardee’s
United States Air Force SSgt. James Fligor was stationed at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates when he was called on an unlikely mission. An aircraft maintenance person was trapped inside a fuel cell on a KC-10 aircraft. Putting his own life at risk, Fligor had to remove his protective gear and oxygen mask in order to pull this man out of the fuel cell.
Disaster Relief; Sponsored by Anheuser- Busch
AmeriCorps members diligently respond in the face of disasters, both large and small. With Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac, members were eager to provide relief in the wake of the storms. They don’t see themselves as heroes, but for all those who have been affected by disasters, they provide much needed relief in those difficult times.
Firefighter; Sponsored by Ekon Benefits
What started as a routine training exercise to rescue a firefighter in trouble, took a turn for the worse. Captain/Paramedic Mike Digman noticed that his fellow fireman had collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest. Digman and others in training hurried to get Firefighter/Paramedic Daniel Wright to the ambulance in the firehouse as quickly as possible. Captain/Paramedic Brad Shelton took over from there and performed CPR on the way to the hospital.
Over the years, the local Red Cross has honored more than 500 individuals for saving a life.
The American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region is a proud member agency of the United Way, which makes significant investments every year in Red Cross services.