The American Red Cross of Maine, Southern Maine Chapter, is proud to announce the winners of its 2013 ‘Real Heroes’ awards. The awards will be presented to members of the community who have performed an act of heroism — showing courage, kindness, and selfless character in service to others and exemplifying what it really means to be a hero.
The ‘Real Heroes,’ in seven categories, were selected from among a strong field of nominees by a panel of local citizens representing communities in the southern Maine counties that the Southern Maine Chapter serves:
Youth Community Service: Abbie Jacobson (Scarborough)
When eight-year-old Abbie found a purse with more than $4,000 in cash in it in a Sam’s Club parking lot in Scarborough, did she think about keeping it? She did not — despite the substantial medical and financial challenges her family was facing. With the help of her parents and the local police, she reunited the purse with its owner, an immigrant from Cambodia who had been carrying her entire savings for a visit back home.
Military: Chris Tyll (Portland)
Chris, a Navy veteran who served for nine years in Iraq, moved his young family to Portland in 2009 and opened a pizza franchise. But something was wrong. He says, “I faced what I think every vet in a way faces: this disconnect with those around you.” Today, as chair of the Portland Regional Chamber’s Portland Veterans Network, he shares his time, heart and energy in working with partner organizations to help his fellow veterans find employment, health care, education, and more — and to truly heal and come home.
Community Service: Sarah Diment (Ogunquit)
Sarah owns the Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit. Days after Hurricane Sandy, she led a group of her fellow business owners and the local Chamber of Commerce in bringing families affected by the storm to area hotels for a five-day respite, with free accommodations, meals, entertainment, and more. The program, known as Operation Ogunquit, inspired gifts of assistance from more than 25 businesses, other local organizations, schools, and individuals. As a family member from New York said, “It restored my faith in humanity. I never knew people could be so nice.” His home had been swept out to sea.
International Service: Amy Miller (South Berwick)
Stunned by the poverty she and her family witnessed on a trip to Haiti in 2007, Amy went home to South Berwick and began writing articles, building area partnerships to collect clothing and medical supplies, raising funds, and creating student sponsorships in support of the Eben Ezer School in Milot, Haiti. After the disastrous Haitian earthquake of 2010, she arranged for a container of supplies, including a diesel generator, to be shipped to the school. Recently she raised $8,500 for supplies used to teach trades such as woodworking, welding, and sewing. Today Eben Ezer — which began as a two-room cinderblock school — is a two-story, well-equipped resource for the entire town, educating, clothing, and feeding more than 300 students.
Medical Provider: Dr. Jill Mahoney (Saco)
Jill is a family practitioner in Saco who formed a remarkable bond with long-time cancer patient Lucille Jamieson. As Lucille’s health continued to fail after years of battling her illness, Jill called to check in on her, went to Lucille’s home when Lucille was unable to get to the office, shared her personal phone numbers with the family, and made herself available even when she wasn’t on call. Toward the end, Jill set up hospice care in Lucille’s home and visited her after hours. Lucille died on August 3, with her trusted doctor and friend Jill by her side, holding her hand.
Life Saving: Chris Allen (Auburn), Dana Eastman (Portland), Edward McCaron (Portland), Dan McMillan (North Yarmouth), Katie Nelson (Biddeford), Michael Wells (South Portland), Portland Police Officers Sam Turner and Matt Pavlis, Portland Firefighters Robert Slaving, Dave Carter, and Dan Hassler
On September 28, a Portland resident’s car sped out of control down India Street before crashing through fences and a guardrail and plunging into Portland Harbor. Civilians Chris, Dana, Edward, Dan, Katie, and Michael; police officers Sam and Matt; and firefighters Robert, Dave, and Dan immediately leapt into the water and swam toward the car. Working together, they were able to help Katie enter the car through a window, free the woman, and pull her from it seconds before it sank. Robert swam safely back to shore with her, where she was taken to the hospital for medical attention.
Blood Services: George Drisko (Bridgton)
George has made it his mission to ensure Mainers have the life-saving blood when in need. He is an active member of the Mason Lodge in Bridgton and coordinates 4 to 5 Red Cross blood drives at that location per year. George has attended, volunteered, and donated blood at each and every drive at the Lodge over the past 6 years. Most impressive is his selfless work at the Christmas Eve blood drive at the Lodge. George spends his holiday helping others at this event – the most successful blood drive of the year in Bridgton. George has gone above and beyond to help Mainers in need and represents the entire Bridgton community as a ‘Real Hero.’
The awards will be presented at the 15th Annual Heroes’ Awards Dinner, on Thursday, April 4, 2013, at 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, 88 Spring Street, in Portland. The honorary chair of the event is Shawn Moody of Moody’s Collision Centers; the co-chairs are Beverly DeBevoise of Evergreen Capital Group and Michele Davis. Tickets are $50 per person and are a tax-deductible donation; proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross of Maine.
The Red Cross of Maine is also holding an online auction for those who cannot attend the event, but still want a fun and exciting way to donate to the American Red Cross. Red Sox vs. Yankees Tickets, Sailing on Casco Bay, Golf Packages, Shopping Excursions are now up for bid!
To learn more and attend this fundraising event, contact Tammy Atwood at firstname.lastname@example.org, (207) 874-1192 x108.
About the American Red Cross:
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 www.redcross.org/me, follow us on Twitter @ARC_Maine, like us on Facebook, or join our blog at http://arcmaine.wordpress.com/.