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Southern Maine Real Heroes to be honored by Red Cross

Southern Maine Real Heroes
These individuals and groups have demonstrated acts of heroism and have shown courage, kindness, and unselfish character in their service to others.

Updated March 11th: Due to weather, the Southern Maine Real Heroes Award Breakfast has moved from March 13th to April 30th

Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Five individuals and one company in southern Maine are being honored as “Real Heroes” by the American Red Cross of Maine for going above and beyond in service to others. These heroes will be honored in recognition of their good works at a breakfast on Wednesday April 30 at Holiday Inn By The Bay.

“These individuals and groups have demonstrated acts of heroism and have shown courage, kindness, and unselfish character in their service to others,” says Pat Murtagh, CEO of the American Red Cross of Maine.

The recipients in Southern Maine are:

Judith French (Alfred), Real Heroes Public Safety Award

On her way home from work, Judith, an EMT in Alfred, responded to a call and found a man unresponsive and without a pulse. She performed CPR for several minutes, until rescue personnel arrived. The responder’s report read, “If not for the immediate, effective CPR intervention performed by Judy, the patient very likely would not have had a pulse or been breathing for ten or more minutes, usually resulting in death.”

Terry Flaherty & Family (Yarmouth), Real Heroes Blood Service Award

The Flaherty Family holds an annual blood drive and 5K Run/Walk fundraiser in memory of Tim Flaherty, a 33-year veteran of the Portland Fire Department, who died of a rare blood cancer in 2011.

Austin Marhak (Sanford), Real Heroes Life Saving Award

Austin was called into action during a family day on the water, when he rescued two men who were in danger of drowning. When he noticed both men having difficulties, Austin, then just 14, responded, pulling both from the river. Once on shore, he stayed with both, keeping them calm until help arrived. Sanford Fire Chief Jeff Rowe said “Austin’s actions that day saved two people ... He put his life at risk to save others.”

Janice Parker (Portland), Real Heroes Education Award

A retired elementary school teacher, Janice continues to help students, by volunteering at Longfellow Elementary School in Portland. Her long list of projects includes working with a pair of third graders who didn’t speak English. After spending all day with the students, she goes home to develop interactive games to help them with build their skills. Janice’s nomination reads: “With her dedication and patience, they have built an incredible working vocabulary, are able to communicate with other students and teacher, read basic books in English, and have stayed current with the curriculum in the classroom.”

Karen Rea, (Portland), Real Heroes American Red Cross Volunteer Award

Karen is the Northeast Division Nurse Leader and Maine Health Services lead. In addition to her work in the state, Karen has deployed numerous times, including to Texas after Hurricane Ike, to Minnesota, Montana, and North Carolina for tornados and floods, to New York in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, and to Boston after the Marathon bombings.

SERVPRO, Real Heroes Corporate Partner Award

SERVPRO has been a supporter of the American Red Cross of Maine for 7 years. In addition to hosting blood drives and encouraging staff to volunteer, the team at SERVPRO organizes an annual golf tournament to raise money for Red Cross disaster relief efforts. At the national level, SERVPRO is a sponsor of the Red Cross National Ready Rating initiative, a program that helps businesses, schools and organizations prepare for disasters and other emergencies.

For more information about the Real Heroes’ Award Breakfast, or to purchase tickets, visit