The American Red Cross will honor six true community Heroes at the fifth annual Red Cross Heroes Breakfast, which will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Lexus Club at the CONSOL Energy Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
WPXI-TV sportscaster Bill Phillips will serve as the emcee. In addition to a presentation honoring this year’s heroes, Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief Darryl Jones will also be given the Red Cross Community Leadership Award.
The event, which is a fundraiser for the American Red Cross, is designed to honor everyday heroes in six categories, listed below. The heroes were nominated by community members and then voted on by an independent panel of media personnel.
This year's event sponsors include Champion Sponsor, MSA, Award Sponsors, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh, and Supporter Hunter Associates, Inc.
The 2013 Heroes to be honored on Sept. 26 include:
Educator Hero, David McCleary
David McCleary of New Alexandria has been an educator for nearly 30 years in the Derry Area School District. In his role, among other notable projects, McCleary spearheaded a service program known as Kids in Need in Derry (KIND). KIND raises funds for any educational or other needs students in the district have. Among other things, the fund provides sneakers so students can take gym class, work shoes for Vo-Tech, lunch money, field trip and yearbook money and more. In addition, the program launched a clothing closet to provide garments for students who are in need of seasonal wear. Through KIND, McCleary is able to create and sustain an optimal learning environment for all ages throughout the Derry Area district.
Good Samaritan Hero, Richard Spear
For more than 20 years, Richard Spear of South Fayette Twp. has tirelessly worked to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth in impoverished countries. Spear has founded and maintained several orphanages throughout Haiti and Colombia. Spear’s work also includes contributing to the education of Haitian and Colombian females through the personal funding of medical programs. Through his humanitarian efforts, Spears estimates that he has positively touched the lives of nearly 300 children.
Lifetime Commitment to the Red Cross Hero, Marjorie Montanari
Marjorie Montanari of Lower Burrell has been a dedicated volunteer for more than 60 years. During the 1950s, Montanari joined the local Red Cross as a student nurse, staffing and supporting numerous blood drives. In addition, Montanari utilized her extensive nursing background to instruct preparedness, health and safety courses for mothers and their children as well as for those in need of medical care in the home. More than 60 years later, Montanari continues to serve her Armstrong and Westmoreland county communities through humanitarian work. She is a disaster response coordinator, board member and state lead for nurse recruitment.
Military Hero, Bill Gregor
Bill Gregor of Karns City followed in his family’s footsteps to be an active member of the United States military for nearly 15 years. As a current Navy reservist, Gregor volunteers with his unit a couple times each month. Earlier this year, Gregor and his unit were volunteering at a food bank when one woman suddenly collapsed. Gregor quickly responded by performing “c-spine mobilization” to stabilize her condition. He also directed spectators to perform certain tasks before the paramedics arrived on to the scene. Gregor’s training and swift action enabled the woman to arrive safely at the hospital and kept an otherwise hectic situation calm, so paramedics could arrive quickly to do their jobs.
Professional Responder Hero, Kevin Faulds
Kevin Faulds of Whitehall, Sherriff’s Deputy of Allegheny County, was driving through the streets of downtown Pittsburgh when chaos erupted. As a gun battle ensued at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, Faulds sprang into action, pursuing three armed individuals. Acting alone, Sgt. Faulds detained the dangerous situation by taking all three individuals into custody. That afternoon, during rush hour, Sgt. Faulds estimates nearly 2,000 individuals were in the crowd. His quick instinct and reaction potentially saved numerous lives of those in the downtown Pittsburgh area.
Youth Hero, Karlea Holub
Karlea Holub, an 18-year-old of Ellsworth, has been a volunteer with the local Red Cross for more than five years. As a volunteer, Holub has performed local disaster response, visited veterans at the VA hospitals and spread the Red Cross message at community outreach events. She has also taken numerous Red Cross trainings, from the Certified Nurse Assistant training to various disaster courses, which further enable her to fulfill her Red Cross roles. Holub’s dedication and commitment to furthering the Red Cross mission serves as a hallmark for future generations of Red Cross volunteers.