The American Red Cross in central and western South Dakota honored community heroes at its third annual ‘Breakfast of Champions’ at the Ramkota Hotel. Eight individuals were presented awards for going above and beyond the call of duty to support their communities and fellow residents in time of need or emergency. Nearly 150 were in attendance.
“It is great to honor to all of these heroes and listen to their tremendous stories of selflessness,” said Richard Smith, Red Cross Executive Director in central & western South Dakota. “All of them did extraordinary things under extremely challenging circumstances.”
The following individuals were honored:
Military Hero: Jim Childers
As a veteran of the United States Air Force, Jim was proud to serve his country during the Vietnam era. Following his discharge, he pursued life outside the military but never forgot the bond he had with his fellow service members. He currently volunteers at Fort Meade VA in the ‘No Veteran Dies Alone’ program. Jim comforts fellow veterans in their final hours to make sure “no veteran leaves this earth alone.”
Good Samaritan Hero: Seth Harwood
Photographer Seth Harwood demonstrated unusual bravery and level-headedness when he came across a car with a rapidly progressing fire in Spearfish. When he realized the vehicle contained an unconscious driver, he immediately took action. Seth’s willingness to place himself in harm’s way while rescuing the man from a burning vehicle spared the victim from terrible burns and possible death.
First Responder Heroes: Brian Povandra-Rapid City Fire Department, Jeff Andrews-Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Jason Dannenbring-Pennington County Search & Rescue, Shawn Stalder-Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Jeremy Stauffacher-Rapid City Police Department
The five individuals listed above are members of the Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team. On May 16th, 2015, these brave individuals responded with a request from the Oglala Sioux Tribe to assist in the rescue of a five people trapped on the top of a car, which was swept off BIA Highway 41, by fast moving flood waters. Their incredible story of teamwork, determination and perseverance saved two adults, three children and an infant.
Law Enforcement Hero: Zac Bader
On October 24th, 2015, Trooper Bader made a traffic stop on Interstate 90 involving a vehicle with four individuals. He quickly detected the odor of marijuana and other indicators of criminal activity. He began searching the vehicle for occupants. When Bader confirmed his suspicion of criminal activity, he approached the biggest threat of the group to place him under arrest. At that time, he was brutally attacked and left on the side of the road. Trooper Bader’s recovery is a testament to his love for life, his family and his commitment to serve our community.
The Red Cross responded to nearly 100 incidents in central & western South Dakota this past year and support military members and veterans in all communities with emergency communications and support.