Maine Red Cross Announces Latest 'Real Heroes' for 2013

LEWISTON, March 11, 2013 – The American Red Cross of Maine, United Valley 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 nine ‘Real Heroes,’ in seven categories, were selected from among a strong field of nominees by a panel of eight local citizens representing communities in the eastern, central, and northern Maine counties that the United Valley Chapter serves:

Military: Jeremy Gilley

Jeremy, an Iraq War veteran, stopped at the scene of a truck accident on December 18, 2011. As he helped the driver get out, a van ran into the truck, pinning Jeremy between the two vehicles and severing his legs. He was able to instruct the two drivers in fashioning a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

Lifesaving: Brooke Pinkham

Brooke, an emergency room nurse, stopped at the scene of a car accident on August 6, 2012. She found the driver’s five-year-old daughter Danika dangling from her car seat, unconscious and bleeding. Brooke was able to climb into the car and hold Danika’s head and chest up to keep her airways clear until and ambulance arrived.

Youth: Amanda Garboski

On August 20, 2012, seventeen-year-old Amanda was babysitting Eli and Sophia for the first time when the smoke detectors in the house went off. She found smoke pouring into the kitchen and was able to get both children (and the family dog!) out of the house safely before calling 911.

Workplace Safety: Christina Cifelli, Jennifer Cyr, Michelle “Micky” Gogan

During an exercise class at the Auburn Lewiston YMCA on July 10, 2012, one of the class members had a heart attack. While class instructor Christina directed traffic, calling out instructions to 911 and requesting a portable defibrillator, class members Jennifer and Micky performed CPR. Thanks to their quick work, the heart attack victim is alive today.

Public Safety: Brandon Kelly

Police Officer Brandon Kelly responded to a 911 call on December 15, 2012, to find Doris unconscious on the floor and her husband panic-stricken. She had suffered a diabetic emergency and fallen through a glass wall – and was covered in blood. Brandon applied pressure to Doris’s wounds and talked to her, keeping her as alert as possible. Thanks to Brandon, Doris was out of the hospital and back home in time for Christmas.

Blood Services: Chip Keene

Fire department captain Chip Keene asked the Red Cross to hold a blood drive at a small community event on the tenth anniversary of September 11. Although the date happened to fall on a Sunday, the Red Cross jumped at the opportunity – and the drive turned into a huge event with what seemed like the entire town of Auburn present! The event, honoring lives lost, also provided 100 units of life-saving blood.

International Outreach: Bill Legere

In an effort to make sense of the loss of their nine-year-old daughter Grace, Bill and his wife Teresa created the Foundation for Hope & Grace as a living memorial to her. Bill has dedicated his life to bringing hope, healing, justice, and compassion to vulnerable and orphaned children. He has made countless journeys to impoverished countries, sharing materials, expertise, and funding to help make hands-on connections between agencies and programs with similar missions. Locally, he has led the effort to bring awareness to human trafficking – the fastest growing crime in the world. Bill is a lead emergency nurse practitioner at Central Maine Medical Center.

The awards will be presented at a Heroes’ Breakfast at the Ramada Inn, 490 Pleasant Street in Lewiston, on Tuesday, March 12, at 7:30 a.m. The honorary co-chair of the event is former governor John E. Baldacci. The master of ceremonies is news reporter Steve Minich of WMTW-TV. Tickets are $20 per person and are tax deductible as donations; proceeds will directly benefit local disaster relief and emergency preparedness throughout the state. To learn more and to attend this fundraising event, contact Jennifer Gaylord at Jennifer.gaylord@redcross.org or 207-376-0615.

The Red Cross of Maine is a charitable organization – not a government agency – that must raise from local individuals, corporations, and foundations 100% of the funds needed to prepare, connect, and respond. For more information, please visit www.maineredcross.org.

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 redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.