Red Cross Honors Heroes at Providence Breakfast

The heroes at this year’s breakfast were truly inspiring, for their humility and grace.

PROVIDENCE, RI, NOVEMBER 19, 2013 — The American Red Cross honored community heroes at its annual breakfast, held Friday, November 15, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence.

Among the community and government leaders present were Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts; Brigadier General Marcus Janitto, Rhode Island Air National Guard Deputy Adjutant General; and Providence Commissioner of Public Safety, Steven Paré.

Awards were presented in nine categories and recipients ranged from a pair of recently graduated high school students who saved eight lives on a Westerly beach last summer to an off-duty firefighter who saved a man in cardiac arrest at a holiday concert to a former military bomb detecting dog reunited with his wounded veteran partner.

“The heroes at this year’s breakfast were truly inspiring, for their humility and grace as much as for their heroic acts,” said American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter CEO Paula Montgomery. “We were honored to recognize these members of the community who exemplified the Red Cross mission of to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery thanked Leadership sponsor Webster Bank for its support of Heroes and of Red Cross programs throughout the year. “Webster is a wonderful partner in our work.”

"Webster Bank is firmly committed to giving back to the communities we serve, and we do that in part by supporting great organizations like the American Red Cross," said Jay Ryan, senior vice president and director, government and institutional banking for Webster Bank. "We provide support in two ways: through financial contributions, such as our sponsorship support of the Heroes breakfast, and employee volunteerism. I'm pleased to say that, in addition to myself here in Rhode Island, we have senior vice presidents serving on the boards of Red Cross chapters in Connecticut and Massachusetts. We're delighted to play a role in the Rhode Island Heroes breakfast, as well as the Heroes breakfasts held in other parts of the Webster footprint."

The Statewide Leadership Sponsor for Heroes is Webster Bank. CVS Caremark is Program Sponsor. Award Sponsors were Alex and Ani; Amica Insurance; Clean Care of New England, Inc.; and Cox Media. Table Sponsors were SERVPRO of Providence and Standish Executive Search LLC.

Honorees at the American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast for 2013 are:

·         Life Saving Heroes: Cody Arsenault and Joseph McDonough “Mac” Walsh. Arsenault and Walsh were working as lifeguards at the Ocean House beach in Watch Hill when they rushed to the aid of eight people caught in a rip tide at the neighboring unguarded public beach.

·         Community Resilience Hero: Rhode Island State Trooper Roupen Bastajian who had just completed last year’s Boston Marathon when two bombs were detonated near the finish line. Bastajian rushed into the chaos to help care for several gravely wounded victims.

·         First Responder Hero: East Providence Police Officer Richard Cordeiro who helped to save the life of a runner who collapsed in cardiac arrest on a city street last summer.

·         First Responder Hero: Pawtucket Fire Lieutenant David Reed who, while off-duty at a concert last December in Newport, rushed to the aid of a man in cardiac arrest, performing CPR until medical help arrived, saving the man’s life.

·         Military Valor Hero: Army Sergeant Dennis P. Weichel, Jr. (given posthumously), for giving his life to save that of an Afghani child at risk of being run over by an armored vehicle while he was part of a convoy in Laghman Province, Afghanistan. The award was accepted by his 10-year-old son, Nicholas.

·         Military Valor Hero: U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Timothy Raymond McGill (given posthumously), a Green Beret killed in action while deployed in Afghanistan. The award was accepted by his father, Raymond McGill.

·         Youth Services Hero: Rafael Gardiner, Youth Council Chairman at the American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter. Gardiner has demonstrated strong leadership in youth volunteering, transforming the Red Cross youth corps in Rhode Island into a national model for the Red Cross.

·         Spirit of the Red Cross: Christina Pilkington who rushed to the aid of a pedestrian who collapsed alongside a busy roadway last summer in Lincoln, while walking to a bus stop from the office of Special Olympics in Smithfield.

·         Animal Rescue Hero: Earl, a retired military K-9 who sustained injuries along with his handler, U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Bradley O’Keefe while the two were deployed in Afghanistan. Earl was later reunited with O’Keefe to aid in his recovery through the work of his sister, Rachel Lawson, who accepted the award with Earl.

More information about the honorees, along with a form to nominate heroes for next year’s event is available at .


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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.