2013 Des Moines Area 'Heroes of the Heartland' Announced

Iowa Red Cross, Des Moines Announces Heroes News Photo
These 16 individuals are ordinary people doing extraordinary things; they help us when the need is most critical.

Photo Caption: Tyler Weig is one of the 2013 Des Moines Heroes of the Heartland. Tyler's decision to donate a kidney to a stranger started a chain that impacted 10 lives.

The Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross is excited to announce the 2013 Des Moines Area Heroes of the Heartland. These 16 individuals are ordinary people doing extraordinary things; they help us when the need is most critical.

The 2013 Heroes of the Heartland are:

Bill Schierbork – Bill has been a member of the Neola Fire and Rescue for more than 20 years, and has been the chief for more than 15. A few years ago, Bill’s small community lost several young people in car accidents and he would go to the school and console the grieving kids and faculty. Bill’s friends and family say he takes every call personally. His biggest pleasure is when he gets a simple “thank you” for helping

Ann Thomas – Ann and four friends started, Let’s Soar Together. The organization serves as a place for families of special needs children to find support and resources, and to advocate for their children. Soar Together has donated dozens of iPads and iPods to be used by children with behavioral disorders and autism to the Waukee School District, built adaptive swings for Maple Grove Elementary School and donated $1200 to the Waukee YMCA, so it can install a chair in the swimming pool.

Angela Hommer – On March 5, 2012, Angela ran to the scene of a two car collision in Des Moines. She pulled a five-year-old boy, Frederick, out of the wreckage. The child was not breathing and did not have a pulse, so Angela immediately began performing CPR. By the time emergency personnel arrived, the boy had a pulse again. Angela visited Frederick in the hospital, but sadly he died five days after the accident. Angela said she was just doing what anyone else would do.

John Ostring – On June 2, 2012, John rushed to save his neighbor when her home exploded. John ran next door and began searching for her in the debris. He found her laying in burning insulation, picked her up and carried her to safety before what was left of the house burst into flames. If you ask John about that day he will say, “I just did what needed to be done. There was a fire and I got her out, got her to safety. “

Travis Hamilton – In 2009, Travis, a Johnston police detective, donated a kidney to his son, Trae. Travis donates as much of his time as possible, to children. He is active in the Make A Wish Foundation and coordinates the annual Guns-N-Hoses hockey game.

Craig and Shirley Phinney – Craig and Shirley founded, Cops Against Cancer, following Craig’s diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer in 2009. Cops Against Cancer provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families. 53 families have received assistances for travel expenses and 128 families have been assisted with other needs in 41 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Craig and Shirley provide patients and their families, doctors and hospital staff with their phone numbers and answer day or night. They work to ensure that those who need assistance do not go without.

Tyler Weig – On January 7, 2013, Tyler made a decision that began the longest kidney transplant chain ever to take place in Iowa. Tyler didn’t know the recipient, which is rare, but decided to donate a kidney to whoever needed it. That donation started a chain that helped five people facing total of 12 years on the transplant waiting list.

Doug Armstrong – On April 2, 2012, Doug a Senior Fire Medic for the Des Moines Fire Department, performed the Heimlich maneuver on an elderly man who was choking on a piece of meat. Doug was off-duty and sitting at a nearby table, but recognized the emergency and responded.

Anne Murr – Anne is the Coordinator of the Adult Literacy Center at Drake University. Aside from her office hours, Anne plans community-wide events to connect students, tutors and community members. A tutor shared, “Anne has been everything – administering, coordinating, teaching, supporting, and probably even sweeping floors for over 20 years. She devotes a huge part of her life to the Adult Literacy Center and has touched so many lives.”

Dave McCaulley, Ryan Brown, Matt Myers, Ben Weir and Rob Bacon – These five men were on a golf outing at Indian Creek Country Club in Nevada, Iowa, when Denny Kjarland suffered a heart attack on the number six tee. The men recognized the situation and performed CPR. Denny is alive, working and back to normal thanks to their quick thinking.

Ed Johnson – Ed is the principal at Whittier Elementary in Indianola. Ed reacted quickly when fifth-grader, Logan Major, was choking on a carrot at lunch. Ed gave Logan the Heimlich maneuver.

Eleven Years ago, the American Red Cross set out to develop an annual event to honor Iowans who have performed a heroic act. Heroes of the Heartland not only recognizes these heroes but also raises funds to help ensure that the American Red Cross will be prepared and best equipped to help people with food, shelter and comfort during emergencies.

The 2013 honorees will be celebrated at the Heroes of the Heartland breakfast sponsored by Westbank, Friday, April 12 2013, from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. at the Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des Moines.