2015 Honored Heroes

16th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast

Each year, individuals and organizations from our community make a positive impact on the lives of others, whether through a lifesaving action or tireless work to benefit our community.

On April 28th, 2015, American Red Cross of Alaska honored the 2015 Real Heroes, "everyday heroes" who reflect the mission of the American Red Cross by making our community a safer and better place to live and work.

If you know of a local individual or organization that should be recognized for their heroism or exemplary service to our community, nominate them as a 2016 Red Cross Real Hero. Simply go to the "Nominate a Hero" link at the left of this page or Click Here, complete the online form before the December 31th deadline.

There are several hero categories including Alaska Safety, Community Safety, Marine Rescue, Medical Rescue, Workplace Safety, Youth Good Samaritan, Wilderness Rescue, Military Rescue, Adult Good Samaritan and Fire Rescue.

To learn more about the Real Hero award winners from 2015, please watch the video's below.

  • View the 16th Annual Alaska Real Heroes Breakfast Sponsor List

  • Adult Good Samaritan Hero

    Adult Good Samaritan—Shirley Cleaver

    AWARD SPONSORED BY Providence Health & Services Alaska

    Good Samaritan Shirley Cleaver advocated for the community of Galena after the unimaginable flooding from spring ice jams. Cleaver worked with TCC and Red Cross, and other members of the community.

    Alaska Safety Hero

    Alaska Safety—David Barber and Morgan Cabaniss


    On a November hunting trip up the haul road, David and Morgan saw the truck in front of them begin to jackknife on the ice. Moments later the truck slid over the edge of the road to a snowbank, with the cab hanging at the edge of a 600 foot drop. The two shot out in winter gear for the -35 weather to rescue the driver, who was wedged between the door and the side of his vehicle without cold weather gear.

    Community Safety Hero

    Community Safety—Lori Mike, Richard Akaran, Kotlik Search and Rescue


    Kotlik S&R brought people to safety during the November 9 winter storm flood in Kotlik. Icy water rose rapidly in the cold night, over waists within an hour. Group worked in dangerous, dark conditions with river boats and their waders to rescue the community, dodging ice.

    Fire Rescue Hero

    Fire Rescue—Darrell Bussell

    AWARD SPONSORED BY Anchorage Fire Fighters Union Local 1264

    Anchorage Water Wastewater and Utility Street Maintenance driver Bussell extinguished a fire that started in a boat and threatened to engulf an apartment complex in Mountain View.

    Marine Rescue Hero

    Marine Rescue—Howard Merkel, Don Kluting, Tyler Orbison, Gerald Gangle


    A family of four was stranded on Nakwasina Sound beach in freezing weather. Merkel heard from a friend that a local family was stranded high and dry on a beach and set out immediately by boat through intense rain, snow, and winds above 40 knots. He relayed the family’s position to the coast guard air station and stayed on scene, though the weather prevented him from getting to shore. Coast guard was unable to launch a helicopter, and called Sitka Mountain Rescue to join in a skiff, overcome elements and land the boat at the beach to recover the family.

    Medical Rescue Hero

    Medical Rescue–Sarah Maffe & Carey Seagraves Werlein

    AWARD SPONSORED BY Alaska Regional Hospital

    While at a music event at Lathrop high in Fairbanks, drummer Robbie collapsed. Sarah knew just what to do and did not hesitate to perform CPR. She did chest compressions while chaperone Werlein gave rescue breaths until paramedics arrived.

    Military Hero

    Military Rescue—Dave White, Chris Enoksen

    AWARD SPONSORED BY Shell Explorations and Production Company

    On June 4, a floatplane in SE carrying 7 passengers disappeared. A CG6038 crew flew through low cloud heavy rains and ¼ mile visibility to locate the crash in a narrow mountain pass. Petty Officer White cleared the helicopter through treetops and heavy clouds, then deployed and climbed 500 ft on a 60 degree slope to get to the 6 surviving passengers. He guided the injured to the helicopter for emergency care, then stayed with the remaining passengers until further help could arrive.

    Wilderness Hero

    Wilderness Rescue—Paul Ramert, Steve Brown

    AWARD SPONSORED BY Petrotechnical Resources Alaska

    Paul was the first responder to an accident on the Klutina River on July 27. Paul performed rescue breathing on the victim until the group was able to get to shore and the rescue crew. A young boy survived the incident.

    Workplace Safety Hero

    Workplace Safety—Jeff Glaser, Casey Protzman

    AWARD SPONSORED BY ConocoPhillips Alaska

    When a coworker collapsed during a conference call at Alaska Communications, Casey and Jeff acted quickly to save his life using AED and performing CPR.

    Youth Good Samaritan Hero

    Youth Good Samaritan—Griffin Effenberger

    AWARD SPONSORED BY First National Bank Alaska

    Griffin came to the aid of a choking student in February after lunch at elementary school. The student was choking on a carrot. Griffin smacked the student on the back. When that didn’t work, he gave abdominal thrusts to dislodge the carrot from the victim. Griffin learned the technique in 3rd grade.