You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

American Red Cross Salutes Cortland, Tompkins Real Heroes

ITHACA, N.Y. (March 31, 2015) — The American Red Cross of Cortland County and the American Red Cross of Tompkins County will honor 13 people and two dogs for their heroic actions during the past year at their Fifth Annual Real Heroes Breakfast from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 15, at Great Peak Mountain Resort in Cortland.

The Cortland-Tompkins Real Heroes Breakfast celebrates the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering by recognizing residents from Cortland and Tompkins counties who in the past year performed heroic acts in life-threatening situations. From a SUNY Cortland student who put out the fire in the tractor-trailer that crashed into Simeon’s restaurant in June to a dog that saved her owners’ lives when a fire started in their Ulysses home, each of this year’s honorees is directly responsible for saving a life – or multiple lives.

The American Red Cross provides life-changing services such as disaster response, disaster preparedness education, blood collection, health-and-safety classes, and services to members of our Armed Forces. Working families in Cortland and Tompkins counties often require emergency assistance, and from July 1 through Feb. 28 the Red Cross provided shelter, food, clothing and other assistance to 63 people from 20 families who were displaced from their homes by home fires and other emergencies in Cortland and Tompkins counties.

Cortland Regional Medical Center is the Premier Sponsor of the 2015 Cortland-Tompkins Real Heroes Breakfast. Award Sponsors include BorgWarner Inc., Cayuga Medical Center, Dryden Mutual Insurance Company, Ithaca Journal, NBT Bank, and Pall Corp.

2015 Cortland-Tompkins Real Heroes Breakfast

When: 8 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 15

Where: Acropolis Conference Center, Greek Peak Mountain Resort, 2000 NY-392, Cortland

Tickets: $50 per person ($1,000 for a sponsorship table). For tickets, call (607) 785-7207 or email

Parking: Free for attendees at Acropolis Conference Center.

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

• Adult Good Samaritan Award: Jennifer Curley, of Ithaca.
On Jan. 2 – her birthday – Curley waded into frigid Cayuga Lake to rescue a man flailing in the water after he fell out of a boat.

• Animal Rescue Award: Lucy (owners Regina and Jerry Przygocki, of Ulysses)
Lucy’s barking awakened her owners and enabled them to escape safely after a chimney fire extended into the attic of their Ulysses home in November.

• Blood Donor Award: Elsie Mackly, of Homer
Mackly is a longtime blood donor who gives regularly at the American Red Cross blood drives at Cortland Regional Medical Center.

• Education Award:  Katie Cohen, of Cortland
Cohen, a teacher’s aide at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Cortland, used the Heimlich Maneuver to save the life of a 4-year-old student who was choking on a piece of apple.

• Fire Rescue Award: Firefighter Tim Clemons, of Cortland
Clemons, a member of the Cortland Fire Department, responded to a fire Feb. 13 and provided assistance to a person who needed immediate medical attention. He then returned to the scene and helped nine more people who had suffered injuries or smoke inhalation.

• Good Neighbor Award: Lars Inman, of Moravia, and Jay Shreffler, of Moravia
While driving to work at about 4:45 a.m. one day this past fall, BorgWarner Inc. employees Inman and Shreffler spotted a car that flipped down a steep embankment and was submerged in a ditch filled with mucky swamp water. Inman and Shreffler rescued a mother and her three daughters, including an 11-month-old whose head was under water when they reached the car.

• Medical Award: Acting Lieutenant Jason Fulton and firefighters Ken Thompson and Trevor Peyus from the Ithaca Fire Department; paramedics Oliver Jacob, David Sorensen and Erica Bretscher from Bangs Ambulance.
On Dec. 17, crews from the Ithaca Fire Department and Bangs Ambulance teamed up to save the life of a 25-year-old woman who had gone into cardiac arrest at the Argos Inn in Ithaca and needed to be transported to the hospital.

• Military Award: Sgt. Tyson (owners Mike and Sue McLellan, of Danby)
Sgt. Tyson, now retired in Danby, served three overseas tours with the United States Marine Corps (one in Iraq and two in Afghanistan) with duties that included Improvised Explosive Device detection, drug detection and patrol work.
• Youth Good Samaritan Award: Ryan Johnson, of Newfield
When a tractor-trailer crashed into Simeon’s restaurant in Ithaca in June, Johnson was working nearby and rushed into the building. A student at SUNY Cortland, Johnson carried out one woman who had been thrown to the floor and returned to extinguish the fire that had started in the truck’s cab.