The American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts held its annual Hometown Heroes Breakfast of Champions this morning at The Manor Restaurant in West Boylston, MA. The breakfast honors local individuals and/or groups who have shown courage, kindness, and unselfish character when a friend, family member or stranger faced a life threatening situation - or who have had an extraordinary impact on his/her community or fellow man.
Over 200 community and business leaders were in attendance at the breakfast including representatives from presenting sponsor Unitil and Clara Barton Sponsors, Hanover Insurance Group and Saint-Gobain.
This is one of the chapter’s major fundraisers, providing resources to support the work of the Red Cross throughout our communities. From 24/7 disaster relief, to life-saving training programs and emergency communications services to our nation’s military—this event helps to ensure the fiscal strength of your local Chapter of Red Cross.
The following heroes were honored this morning:
Quincy Devlin of Gardner, MA
Quincy is seven years old…certainly not your typical hero. But to the family of a four-year old little girl, Quincy will remain in their hearts forever. In the buzz of activity at a summer party, Quincy saw a little girl drowning in the pool. Although Quincy had only been swimming for two weeks without inflatable “arm swimmies”, he remembered the technique that his foster father taught him in the water. Without hesitation, Quincy jumped in and dove under the water to save the little girl. When he reached the little girl, he pulled her head above water and encouraged her to put her hands on his shoulders just like his foster father taught him when he had grown weary in the lake. Quincy managed to save the little girl’s life, and he represents the true definition of a hero. This incident took place on July 28, 2012.
Sarah Batchelder of Leominster, MA
While driving on Interstate 495, Sarah noticed that the underside of the car in front of her was on fire but at first the occupants of the vehicle were unaware of the problem. Sarah repeatedly tried to get the driver to pull the car over and finally, after noticing a smoke trail coming from their car, they understood Sarah’s persistence. Pulling over, Sarah rushed to the vehicle to help get the family of seven, including two small children in car seats, to safety. Within moments of getting everyone safely out the vehicle, the car burst into flames. The heat from the flames was so intense, it left her with a “sunburned” face. Some people may have just kept driving feeling this just wasn’t their problem, but Sarah acted without hesitation to save the lives of this family. This incident happened on October 18, 2012.
Mr. Joe Bodanza of Leominster, MA
Joe is a retired school teacher and himself, a polio survivor. After a trip to Vietnam where he witnessed the suffering of children with burns, medical maladies and crippling disorders, Joe was compelled to do something to help. Joe sold his home to finance a new non-profit organization, Child Medical Connection, Inc. through which he is able to bring underprivileged Vietnamese children to the United States to receive life changing treatment for illnesses such as polio, scoliosis, burns, and other crippling disorders. “Mr. Joe”, as he is known by the children he helps, also supports the education for more than 570 Vietnamese students with private donations and his personal retirement funds to help move these individuals out of poverty. A true hero at heart, the passion and dedication of “Mr. Joe” is reflected in the smiles of the children that he helps.
Ms. Karen Mott of Ashland, MA
Patients with cancer have many concerns and worries and Karen goes out of her way to make sure that each of her patients are feeling mentally and physically comfortable. For one woman given a terminal cancer diagnosis, Karen was not only her Oncology nurse, but an angel who opened her heart and home. Her patient was worried that there was no one to take care of her nine year old son when she was gone. Karen and her family decided to open their home and their hearts by adopting this child, giving peace to his mother in her final days knowing her son would be cared for in a loving home. This act shows Karen’s compassion to make the world a better place by helping one woman and one boy.
Mr. Evan C. Page of West Boylston, MA
Evan’s story began with a dream that he would go to India to adopt a child. After much research, he learned that malnutrition and poverty were pressing issues in Sri Lanka and he then realized “the baby” he was meant to adopt was really the Sri Lanka YMCA. Over the years, Evan has shown remarkable commitment to YMCA international partnerships, specifically with the YMCA of Negombo in Sri Lanka. As the former President/CEO of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, Evan left a legacy of unparalleled leadership that has served the YMCA, as well as the local Worcester community and that of Negombo, Sri Lanka. Evan has traveled many times to Sri Lanka, and his work reminds us that we are a global society. Among his numerous qualities, Evan Page is a man of humility, passion, great character and integrity….and modesty – he’ll tell you it was a team effort. These key qualities and his strong dedication make him the 2013 recipient of the Britney Gengel International Humanitarian Award.
Find out more about Central Massachusetts Red Cross at RedCross.org/cwm