A Hinton, Iowa man and a Fairbury, Nebraska man represented their respective states as “citizen heroes” when the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers faced off against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday, November 29th in the third-annual Hy-Vee Heroes Game.
The Heroes Game uses the national stage created by this new Big Ten football rivalry to honor the heroic efforts of individuals and organizations in America’s heartland. Fans of both schools were invited to nominate residents of Iowa and Nebraska who have performed extraordinary acts of heroism and service in their communities. From among those nominated, staff and volunteers from the American Red Cross selected the following winners, who will be recognized during a halftime ceremony on the field in Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium.
Mike Klemmensen doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but certainly this career firefighter is a hero to many in his northwest Iowa community. The full time firefighter for the 185th Refueling Wing and volunteer with the Hinton Fire Department saved the lives of four adults and two children on the night of August 20, 2013. When Mike saw smoke coming from their Hinton home, he raced inside and made sure everyone got out safely. He then woke up the neighbors in case the flames from the fully engulfed home spread to their houses. Mike stayed on the scene, helping to fight the fire in 90 degree temperatures, for seven hours!
18-year old Caleb Amundson was at Harlan County Lake in Central Nebraska on Labor Day to enjoy an afternoon of jet skiing and fishing. Little did the young man (who volunteers as a firefighter in rural Fairbury, NE) know that this year's holiday celebration would include saving a life. While at the boat ramp loading his jet ski onto his pickup truck, Caleb saw a nearby boater attempting to launch.
Suddenly, the neighboring vehicle's brakes gave way, plunging the pontoon, truck & driver into the water. Recognizing quickly that the driver was not surfacing, Caleb dove into the murky lake. Unable to see, Caleb focused on feeling for the truck's mirror when he made contact with the submerged driver’s arm and pulled the man to safety.
Athletic Directors Gary Barta of the University of Iowa and Shawn Eichorst of the University of Nebraska will made a special presentation to the Heroes Game honorees, whose names will be inscribed on the Hy-Vee Heroes Game trophy.
Representatives from Hy-Vee, presenting sponsor of the Heroes Game, presented a $100,000 check to the American Red Cross just before kickoff to show support for the Heroes recognized and the important work of the American Red Cross in Nebraska and Iowa.