CENTRAL ILLINOIS — The Red Cross understands how important it is to recognize people whose commitment and courage make a difference. That’s why, every year, the organization honors those who stand out in a crowd. The Central Illinois Chapter is proud to announce this year’s Heartland Heroes award recipients.
These individuals exemplify the mission of the Red Cross and make our community a healthier and safer place to work and live.
• Lifesaving Hero/Certificate of Merit Winner – Charlie Cain of Peoria. At the conclusion of a Peoria Notre Dame swim team practice, seventeen-year-old Charlie, a Red Cross trained lifeguard, pulled his unconscious teammate from the bottom of the pool. Once on the pool deck, the boy thankfully began breathing on his own and was swimming again just two days after the incident.
• Michel A. McCord Good Citizen Hero – Michelle Sullivan of Manito. After losing her son in an automobile accident in 2005, Michelle uses the details of this tragedy to not only emphasize the dangers of impaired driving, but to address the painful reality of what life is like for family and friends after these deadly events. She speaks at numerous Victim Impact Panels in Tazewell County and at Red Cross Prom Night reenactment crashes each year.
• Youth Hero – Brett McMahon of East Peoria. When 6-year-old Brett McMahon brought home a flyer from school asking for donations for Operation Santa, he wasn’t quite sure what the organization did. Four years later, this determined young boy could just about serve as its spokesperson. Now 10 years old, Brett has collected almost 50,000 items over the years—everything from toothbrushes, shampoo and batteries, to gum, beef jerky and socks—that are used to fill Christmas stockings for soldiers serving overseas during the holidays.
• Lifesaving Heroes – Nate Lapsley of Green Valley, Dustin Martin of Peoria, Julie Rada of Peoria. Last August, Mike Beneventi was practicing sand shots from a bunker at the Golf Learning Center. That’s about the last thing he remembers before waking up in the hospital. Mike was both stunned and grateful to learn the details of how good Samaritans Natt, Julie and Dustin worked together to save his life after Mike dropped to the sand in complete cardiac arrest.
The 2013 Heartland Heroes awards dinner is scheduled for Saturday, May 4 at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria. The event is the primary annual fundraiser for the Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter.
The keynote speaker this year will be Apolo Anton Ohno. Recognized as the face of short track speedskating with his signature hairstyle and bandana, Apolo is the most decorated American Winter Olympian with eight medals spanning three Winter Olympic Games. Ohno maintains a healthy and active lifestyle and has graced covers of magazines including Men’s Journal, Sports Illustrated, Life, Time and Cosmo while also becoming the first Olympian to win ABC’s hit reality TV show “Dancing with the Stars.” Ohno credits his Japanese father as a major factor in his Olympic success, pushing him from a young age to pursue excellence on and off the ice.