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American Red Cross Honors Northern New York's Real Heroes Feb. 5

American Red Cross Honors Northern New York's Real Heroes Feb. 5
The Real Heroes Breakfast celebrates the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering by recognizing people from throughout Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties who performed heroic acts in life-threatening situations.

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The American Red Cross of Northern New York will honor 17 Northern New Yorkers for their heroic actions during the past year at the Real Heroes Breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Samaritan Summit Village in Watertown.

The Real Heroes Breakfast celebrates the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering by recognizing people from throughout Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties who performed heroic acts in life-threatening situations. Among this year’s honorees: A Spanish teacher and mother of three who donated one of her kidneys to a former student; a woman who performed CPR on her 5-year-old son; and a 13-year-old girl who saved her 2-year-old cousin from drowning.

The Red Cross had not hosted a Real Heroes Breakfast in Northern New York for more than 10 years before Jane Gendron, Community Executive of the American Red Cross of Northern New York, brought it back last year. The 2013 event sold out at the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown, prompting this year’s move to a larger venue at Samaritan Summit Village.

Proceeds from the Real Heroes Breakfast benefit the Red Cross, which provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Working families in Northern New York require almost daily emergency assistance because of home fires and other disasters, and in the fiscal year that ended June 30 the Red Cross provided more than $86,000 to 284 people from 90 families impacted by disasters in Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties.

More recently, the American Red Cross responded following the ice storm that left about 30,000 people in Northern New York without power. The Red Cross opened shelters in Norwood, Watertown and Harrisville; deployed 29 volunteers and eight staff members to transport supplies, provide mental health counseling and perform other tasks; and provided blankets, cots, personal hygiene items and hot meals to fire departments and other organizations for their shelters.

2014 Real Heroes Breakfast

When: 7:30 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5

Where: Samaritan Summit Village, 22691 Campus Drive, Watertown

Tickets: $25 per person ($250 for table of 8). Call (315) 234-2225 or email by Jan. 31.

Information/Sponsorships: For more information or to become a Real Heroes sponsor, call Jane Gendron at (315) 782-4410 or email Read about Sponsorship Opportunities.

Parking: Free for attendees at Samaritan Summit Village.

Here’s the list of this year’s Real Heroes Breakfast awards and honorees:

Adult Good Samaritan Award: Jennifer Berie

Berie is a Spanish teacher at Sackets Harbor Central School and a mother of three who this past June donated one of her kidneys to a former student, Nicholas Thompson, after no matches were found with his family and close friends.

Animal Rescue Award: Marena Harris

Harris, of Heuvelton, who was then a member of the Heuvelton Fire Department’s Teen Scene Support Unit, rescued a chocolate Labrador puppy named Dukette from the yard of a burning home in Oswegatchie in early June.

Blood Donor Award: Fort Drum

Fort Drum donors provide the most units of blood in the American Red Cross New York-Pennsylvania Blood Services Region. The 10 blood drives at Fort Drum in 2013 collected 690 units, or pints, of blood – enough to save more than 2,000 lives.

Education Award: Amber Long and Christine Gardner

In early June, about two months after she had been re-certified by the American Red Cross in Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED, Long, of Watertown, saved the life of her choking 5-year-old son, Kadin, by performing CPR along with Gardner, Long’s neighbor.

Fire Rescue Award: Craig Legault

After attempting to put out a fire that started in his Oswegatchie home in early June, Legault ran upstairs to rescue his 4-year-old son, Carson.

Good Neighbor Award: Nick Miller and Trevor Moulton

Miller and Moulton, both 14 and from Madrid, were walking home from the community skating rink in February when they rescued an elderly woman who had fallen in the snow and couldn’t get up.

Law Enforcement Award: Joseph Giaquinto and Amanda Gauthier

In August, Watertown police officers Giaquinto and Gauthier responded to an unwanted person complaint at a Watertown residence and prevented a man from taking his own life.

Medical Award: Scott Sanford

Sanford, a full-time emergency responder with Fort Drum Fire and Emergency Services and a longtime volunteer firefighter in Boonville, was dispatched in late September for a woman in labor at Fort Drum and delivered a healthy baby girl while on the way to the Samaritan Medical Center.

Medical Award: Jay Branson and Margot Remington

Capt. Jay Branson, from Fort Drum’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and Dr. Remington, a retired Watertown physician, performed CPR to save the life of an elderly man who was choking in early March at the Crystal Restaurant in Watertown.

Military Award: Joel DiStefano

U.S. Army Specialist DiStefano was on leave from Fort Drum and traveling back to Watertown from his hometown of Huttonsville, W. Va., in April when he came to the aid of three girls who flipped their car while driving home from spring break.

Water Safety Award: Nicholas Netto

Netto, of Watertown, is a lifeguard for the Watertown Parks and Recreation Department who used his experience and training this past summer to rescue a drowning woman at Alteri Municipal Pool.

Youth Good Samaritan Award: Lacie Thomas

Thomas, 13, of Watertown, was a passenger in her aunt Christan Cooper’s car in July when Cooper lost control of the car on Water Street and it plunged into the Black River. Lacie unhooked 2-year-old Zachary Cooper’s car seat, pushed Zachary to the surface and then helped pull Christan and Zachary to the shore.

9-1-1 Dispatch Award: John Friot Jr and Dustin Lottie

Responding to a 9-1-1 call about a wayward boat, State Park Police officers Friot Jr. and Lottie performed a daring rescue on the St. Lawrence River, where they took control of an unconscious man’s 28-foot cabin cruiser as it careened within 200 feet of the Long Sault Control Dam.