Susquehanna Valley Spirit of the Hero & Volunteer Recognition

Valley Hero Awards
Four Spirit of the Hero Awards were presented to four individuals who saved lives or took extraordinary steps to make their community safer during the past year

Click here to see Photos: Spirit Awards Winners & Outstanding Volunteers

The American Red Cross held its fifth annual Spirit of the Hero Award and Volunteer Recognition Event on Thursday, April 18, 2013, 6:00 p.m., at The Milton Hershey Purcell Friendship Hall on Milton Hershey's alumni campus, 109 McCorkle Road, Hershey PA, 17033.

The event is held yearly by the American Red Cross of the Susquehanna Valley to honor ordinary people who have taken extraordinary action to save a life or otherwise made a difference in the community. The event also recognized the organization’s volunteers and donors in their efforts to help prepare for, prevent and respond to emergencies locally and across the country. Volunteers from Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, Mifflin and Juniata counties were present at the event.

Four Spirit of the Hero Awards were presented to four individuals who saved lives or took extraordinary steps to make their community safer during the past year. The following Spirit of the Hero Awards were presented:

9-1-1 Hero: Holly Leaman, Lancaster, PA

While working a 12 hour shift of overtime at the Lancaster County 911 Dispatch Center, Lehman answered a call from reporting that a 2 year-old boy had drowned in Narvon. Lehman dispatched the paramedics, but meanwhile provided detailed instructions to the caller on how to perform CPR, to offer a chance of reviving the boy. Although it was unknown how long the toddler was down, Lehman knew her instructions would give the boy the best chance he had to survive. The boy was resuscitated and was taken to a local hospital, then flown to Hershey Medical Center where he made a full recovery. Because of Holly’s instructions, the little boy was given a second chance at life.

Adult Good Samaritan: Joseph Goody, Mount Joy, PA

Joseph Goody, a detective from the Mount Joy Borough Police Department, was off-duty and enjoying a meal at Shady Maple Restaurant, a popular Lancaster County eatery, when a gentleman nearby began choking on his food and was unable to breathe. Knowing he could help, Detective Goody sprang to action and administered abdominal thrusts (formerly called the Heimlich maneuver) in an attempt to save the man. The item was dislodged and the man began breathing. Without Detective Goody’s timely, professional response, stated the man’s wife, she was sure her husband would not have survived.

Law Enforcement Hero; Chris Croft, Harrisburg, PA

Chris Croft, an officer with the Susquehanna Township Police Department, received a call for a domestic dispute. Upon arrival and investigation, Croft found a suicidal woman barricaded in a bathroom with a pistol. Because of his ability to create and maintain rapport with her and communicate with her, Croft was able to convince her to come out of the bathroom and put the gun down. A tragedy was averted and the woman was able to receive needed assistance.

Community Impact Hero; Randy Garrett, Elizabethtown, PA

Fifteen years ago, Randy Garrett, a Guidance Counselor with Lower Dauphin School District, began a program “Helping Hands” for 4th and 5th graders at the Lower Dauphin Elementary School. Garrett’s intent was to motivate the students to give back to their community. Over the years, his program has completed various projects with the American Red Cross, in addition to other community organizations. For example, for the past 4 years, Garrett worked with the students to supply with comfort kits for Red Cross volunteers to distribute to victims of disaster.

Other Awards presented were:

Volunteer of the Year, Lilly Cooper, Ephrata, PA. Cooper has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for over 50 years. At 90 years old, she still volunteers a few hours a week and is very modest about her service. The entire staff at the Ephrata Community Hospital, where she regularly volunteers, recognizes her commitment and is pleased to have her there. She started volunteering after her children were in school and she had free time and her commitment has continued ever since.

Rookie of the Year, Margaret Johnson, Harrisburg, PA Since she started in August of 2012, Johnson has worked since then three days a week in the Harrisburg office assisting in many areas. As her first assignment, she assisted the Disaster Services Department completing paperwork following Tropical Storm Lee for the entire region. She has been responsible for calling our Service to the Armed Forces clients and conducting client satisfaction surveys. It takes a special person to do this, one must be professional, sensitive, and empathetic and she does an outstanding job! Johnson has jumped in last minute to help on special projects and events.

Brown-Gabby Award, Michael and Doris Murphy, Mechanicsburg, PA Mike is a Disaster Action Team (DAT) Captain, in this role he ensures his team is trained and they all get out obtaining valuable experience. He routinely gets out of bed in the middle of the evening to assist our disaster related clients. In some cases, his wife, Doris joins him. Mike also assists with the mentoring of DAT members as well as potential DAT Captains. Recently Mike agreed to be the Regional Emergency Services Director’s Volunteer partner, in this role he will assist on a higher-level with Disaster Volunteer recruitment, engagement and retention. He will also assist with the standardization of disaster policies and procedures throughout the Region. Mike also continues to serve as a liaison between disaster volunteers and staff, listening and addressing questions, concerns or suggestions. As our area had regionalized, Mike has been the Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee. In this role this com mittee has undertaken the task of standardized procedures and documents for the Disaster teams.

Doris Murphy has been the DAT Orientation Coordinator, the one who goes over the rules and procedures with staff before they are allowed to join a DAT team. Doris spends a lot of time preparing for her meetings and dedicates much time to these training opportunities. She also is part of the regional committee who is standardizing the documents and forms used in training our DAT members.

As a team, Mike and Doris are everywhere, be it at the Armed Forces Day celebration, driving the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and passing out water, or participating in a community event, again with the ERV and sharing information on disaster preparedness. Mike and Doris recently were at the Hershey Park, at the entrance, collecting money for Hurricane Sandy, it was a cold night. They did such a good job that we can now put vehicles in the garage bays. During a disaster, the Mike and Doris team will open and manage a shelter together. Other volunteers have reported how kind, compassionate, and patient they were. This is not only a benefit to our organization, but to our clients and to our staff, by setting not only the example but setting the standard of how to do things and how to do it right.

Philanthropist of the Year: Den 1, Cub Scout Pack 37, Hempfield Church of the Brethren, 1186 Stevens Street, East Hempfield (Manheim mailing address), PA Den 1, eight first grade boys, were so moved by the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, that they worked together to raise money for the American Red Cross relief effort. Together they raised $1,367.85 by collecting funds from family and friends. Their efforts illustrates that no one is too small and no effort is too insignificant to make a difference in the lives of others. Because of their heroic effort, Den 1 is named 2012 Philanthropist of the Year. Den Leader (and father of one of the boys, Donny) is James B. Macaulay.

Corporate Sponsor of the Year. Filson Water, Carlisle, PA Filson Water has shown their kindness and dedication to the Red Cross through their donations of cases and pallets of bottled water to help those served by the Red Cross. Throughout the year, Filson Water supports the Services to Armed Forces at the Armed Forces Day celebration held each May at City Island, as well as supports shelter operations and recovery outreach efforts into neighborhoods affected by disaster. Most recently, they answered a call for help when Harrisburg experienced the crippling sink holes on 4th street.

Blood Drive Sponsor, Bass Pro Shop, Harrisburg, PA. Bass Pro Harrisburg conducted 9 blood drives and collected 159 units of blood in 2012, resulting in an increased number of lives saved and patients helped in the community. Bass Pro is well on their way to over exceed that amount for 2013.

2013 Spirit of the Hero Committee, who conducted the event, included Fina Salvo Wert, Chair, Jack Eilber, Angela Leopold, Mike Murphy and Karen Swaringen. The sponsors for the event are Highmark Blue Shield, Nationwide Insurance, Novak Strategic Advisors and Capital City Mall. Other individuals and businesses involved in the event were Framed! In St. Thomas, Brian Roche, Master of Ceremonies, and WGAL TV8, Events, Etc., Amy Spangler Photos, Doreen Garman and the Milton Hershey School, and Filson Water.