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American Red Cross Honors Local Heroes

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is honoring local people who demonstrated acts of heroism in the community at the organization’s 14th annual Heroes Breakfast, Thursday, April 28 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. To purchase tickets or for more information call 312.729.6178 or go to

“The American Red Cross is proud to honor extraordinary people in our community who have made a difference in the lives of others both here at home and around the world,” said Celena Roldán, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “Whether they are keeping us safe on the job, or jumped in to help during a crisis, we are delighted to honor them for their bravery and service.” 

Honorees were selected in 12 categories such as law enforcement, youth, and blood services. They were chosen by a committee of leaders in the business and civic community. The 2016 American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast honorees include the following group of local standouts: 

Mike Roberson of Oswego is the Good Samaritan Hero. Driving home from his uncle’s funeral after learning his own home had burned down a few days before, Roberson encountered yet a third catastrophe and stopped to help a family of nine whose van had spun off the highway and was submerged in a pond. 

Diane Calamaras, APN, of Chicago is the Blood Services Hero. As a nurse practitioner at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Diane is an advocate for her patients as young as two months old to adults by putting them at ease during blood transfusions for chronic illnesses in a largely pediatric ward. 

David D. Hiller, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, will be honored with the prestigious Heritage Award for his leadership and actions that enhanced the welfare of the community. 

Daniel Ivankovich, MD, medical director and co-founder of the OnePatient Global Health Initiative non-profit, is the Community Impact Hero. Dr. Ivankovich performs more than 600 surgical procedures each year on Chicago patients who are victims of gun violence and other critical injuries who cannot afford health care. 

Officer Lourdes Nieto of the Chicago Police Department is the Law Enforcement Hero. Officer Nieto is helping to keep the city streets safer for young girls through educational efforts to stop the horrors of human trafficking and prostitution. 

Sergeant First Class Tony Genovese and Staff Sergeant Reserve Jeremy Adkins, both from Chicago, are the Emergency Medical Assistance Heroes. The two Illinois Army National Guardsmen saved the driver of a car on fire in the Chicago Loop, breaking the windows and pulling him to safety before emergency crews arrived. 

Samer Attar, MD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern University and volunteer physician with the Syrian American Medical Society and Doctors Without Borders, is the Global Citizenship Hero. Dr. Attar risks his life to save others by providing medical care at underground hospitals in the war-torn nation of Syria. 

Lazenia Adams of Richton Park is the Disaster Services Hero. An American Red Cross volunteer since 2014, Lazenia responded to more than 300 home fires and coordinated efforts to install 3,000 smoke alarms for families in suburban communities south of Chicago through the organization’s Home Fire Campaign, a multi-year initiative that aims to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by this everyday disaster. 

Lt. Hans Ziegenbein, Engineer Robert Bloome, Firefighter Christopher Heinz & Firefighter/EMT Felix Serrano of the Chicago Fire Department are the Firefighter Heroes. Using radar technology combined with quick decision making, the four-man crew of Fire Boat 688 of the CFD Air Sea Rescue Unit saved a sailboat captain who fell overboard in Lake Michigan 10 miles from shore. 

Caley Trepac of Plainfield is the Youth Hero. Caley, who suffers from Chiari, a neurological disorder of the brain and spine, organizes collection drives to bring thousands of stuffed animals to comfort sick children in local hospitals. 

Darice Bohne, RN, BSN, of Oswego is the Nurse Hero. Off-duty from her job as a coronary intensive care nurse at Rush University Medical Center, Darice performed lifesaving CPR on a woman who suffered cardiac arrest at an Oswego summer festival. 

CBS 2 brings its prime time anchor team to host the Heroes Breakfast: Rob Johnson and Irika Sargent, co-anchors of the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Johnson has been the emcee of the Heroes Breakfast for the past nine years. 

The 2016 Heroes Breakfast is made possible thanks to the generosity of our key sponsors: Anixter, Bank of America, BMO Harris Bank, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Boeing, Mesirow Financial, Motorola Solutions, Northern Trust, Walgreens, Aon, CDW, ComEd, Grainger, ITW, NES Rentals, PwC and USG. 

About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.