“The whole focus is to recognize ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” said Tony Burke, American Red Cross.
The 2013 Heroes of the Heartland breakfast on Friday morning recognized six outstanding members of the Ottumwa community that have impacted those are them in countless ways.
The recipients were Desirae Payne, Don Kirchner, Tom Shafer, Myles Sauer and Becky Smith and Ruth Seim.
One of the recipients, Tom Shafer, has been an active member of the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the American Homefinding Association to just name a couple.
“I was really overwhelmed because nothing that I expected, you know, for the things that I do all the time. I take it for granted, that's just what I do,” said Shafer.
American Red Cross’ Tony Burke said that being a hero is not only about saving lives.
“It's all about those people that are doing the everyday things like Ruth Seim who played music and who’s done so much in our community for many, many years,” said Burke.
“I taught music for 40 years in public schools, 36 in Ottumwa,” said Seim, 2013 Hero of the Heartland recipient.
More than 200 members of the community attended the breakfast to give thanks to these local heroes and to raise awareness and money for the American Red Cross. In fact, more than $20,000 was raised.
“You know, a lot of people think of us as disasters in a sense of super storm sandy or 9/11 or Katrina but the reality is that at 3 in the morning, our volunteers are out donating time to help somebody that just lost their home in a house fire,” said Burke.
Planning for next year’s Heroes of the Heartland is already underway and is set for May 2, 2014. A big congratulations goes out to all the deserving recipients.
“The other people that were recognized, they all have done such neat services in our community, it's just really important I think that they got honored also,” said Shafer.