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Unassuming Lifesaver Award recipients honored

Unassuming Lifesaver Award recipients honored
We see their actions as extraordinary. They don’t.

Humble heroes who don’t do what they do for recognition took the stage Tuesday night to receive Lifesaver Awards from the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter.

“Their reactions to being recognized for their heroic efforts are typical of the type of person who is nominated for and receive Lifesaver Awards,” said chapter Executive Director Dave Griffith. “We see their actions as extraordinary. They don’t.

“It’s a calling for them and if they find themselves in a situation that threatens a life, or where a life can be saved, they act.”

The chapter honored nine people in seven categories along with the chapter’s volunteer of the year.

Law Enforcement Lifesaver Award:

Jefferson City Police officers Brad King and Jason Sederwall risked their lives on Dec. 10, 2013, to save a woman trapped in a burning car.

Medical Lifesaver Award:

Tracy Frank, a school nurse at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and Trish Adamson, a school staff member, saved the life of a young girl who was choking on May 13, 2013. Frank and Adamson worked to dislodge the object in the girl’s throat.

Blood Services Lifesaver Award:

Kara Wehmeyer, a 2014 graduate of Calvary Lutheran High School, organized numerous blood drives at the school. Her efforts over two years brought in 249 units.

Youth Lifesaver Award:

Dezaree Curtis, a student at Jamestown High School, is a junior firefighter with the Jamestown Rural Fire Protection District. She has been with the department for three years and has received the Fire Department Medical First Responder certificate and an Outstanding Service Award.

Good Samaritan Lifesaver Award:

Denise Evans, St. James, helped a woman who gave birth prematurely during a Nov. 3, 2013, trip on the Missouri River Runner Amtrak train. The woman gave birth in a restroom and the baby was blue. Evans enlisted the help of a passenger who was a nurse and the two of them cared for the mother and baby. Mother and child are now doing fine.

Military Lifesaver Award:

Staff Sgt. Isaac Diaz, Fort Leonard Wood, saved the life of a soldier who froze after dropping a grenade during training. Diaz grabbed the soldier, took him out of the pit and fell on top of him to protect him from the blast.

Firefighter Lifesaver Award:

Lt. Bruce Britt, Columbia Fire Department, suffered fatal injuries on Feb. 22 when a walkway he was on at University Village collapsed. Britt was assisting complex residents. His wife, Leigh, accepted the award on his behalf.

Volunteer of the Year:

Tom Shands, Jamestown, has been with the local Red Cross since 1975. He has been a health and safety instructor, Disaster Action Team member, shelter manager, disaster instructor, liaison and mentor to other volunteers.

Approximately 320 people attended the event at the Capital West Event Center in Jefferson City. The evening included entertainment, a barbecue dinner and a silent auction along with the award ceremony

The chapter also held its annual meeting and elected new officers and new board members.

Jim Schulte is the new board chair. Jimmy Kay Sanders and Kayla Wilbers are vice chairs. Mark Rehagen is secretary, Todd Hoien is finance chair and Ralph Robinett is nominating committee chair.

DeeDee Shelton joined the board along with board fellows Olivia Wolken, from Helias Catholic High School, Lucas Dyer, from Blair Oaks High School, and Jenna Massie, from Jefferson City High School.

Board fellows are incoming high school juniors who serve two-year terms.