Orange County Heroes Shine during Red Cross Month

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Orange County volunteers are being recognized for their exemplary contributions to the Red Cross

SANTA ANA CALIF. March 26, 2014 — March is Red Cross Month and throughout the month, the American Red Cross has been celebrating the everyday Heroes who help their neighbors when they are in need. This year, two Orange County heroes are being recognized for their exemplary contributions to the Red Cross and a third has been asked by the National American Red Cross to help those affected by the devastating landslide in Oso Washington.

Bryan Solis of Santa Ana was awarded The Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership. This prestigious honor is presented annually to a youth volunteer who demonstrates exemplary leadership skills and Red Cross service. Starting as a youth volunteer 5 years ago, Bryan currently serves as the Youth Advisory Committee vice-chair and Red Cross club coordinator where he is responsible for coordinating all service projects, youth meetings and daily activities for more than 40 Red Cross clubs across Orange County. Bryan also helps run the Youth Services program throughout Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and has played an instrumental role in building the first-ever Youth Advisory Council in Riverside County.

Patrick Earley of Huntington Beach is scheduled to complete his 800th platelet donation through the American Red Cross this Friday March 28th. At 88 years young, Mr. Earley has been a dedicated donor of lifesaving platelets since the 1990’s. He first became a blood donor during WWII when he served as an allied forces paratrooper and in 1992 he switched to donating platelets - the clotting component of blood. Cancer survivors, surgical candidates and transplant patients are among those often treated with platelet transfusions. The Platelet donation is a 90-minute process in which the donor's blood is drawn and processed in a cell separator. This cell separator extracts platelets and returns the remainder of the blood components back to the donor. Mr. Earley will be honored with a surprise celebration following his donation on Friday, March 28th at the American Red Cross Blood Services Fountain Valley Donor Center.

Larry Fortmuller of Newport Coast currently serves as a Board member and long standing disaster and public affairs volunteer, has been on the ground and assisted with American Red Cross efforts for over 15 national disasters. Larry has helped through it all; from Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, and the Boston Marathon bombing to the Colorado floods and many disasters in between. When the Red Cross calls, Larry is there to help, so it was no surprise that Larry was one of the first volunteers to head to Washington and assist with the Red Cross efforts around the devastating landslide. Arriving in Seattle this past Monday, Larry joined a group of over 100 trained Red Cross volunteers on the scene to provide shelter, food, water and emotional support to Oso residents, their families, and emergency responders.

Red Cross month is a great time to become part of your local Red Cross. It’s easy to get involved and become a volunteer, give blood or money, or take a Red Cross class. To learn more about the Red Cross go to: www.redcross.org

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.