Each year, the American Red Cross of Illinois honors an exceptional class of humanitarians in their communities, featuring their stories and heroism. The group is honored at an annual Heroes Breakfast, which welcomes nearly 1,000 guests.
Due to this coronavirus pandemic, the heroes are still being honored, it just looks a bit different. Instead of the traditional breakfast, the class of heroes participated in a virtual meet and greet via Zoom on May 7, also welcoming hundreds of guests to hear their stories.
“Each hero has an amazing story of resilience,” says Celena Roldán, CEO of American Red Cross of Illinois. “It is important that during these difficult times we tell their stories of grit and determination. Many of our heroes are public servants and their stories of generosity and kindness continue amid our health crisis. We want people to know these heroes and to recognize their contributions.”
Over the past several weeks, these heroes’ stories have flooded social media, with the desire of spreading joy, courage, and hope to many people who need it most in this time of uncertainty.
We extend great thanks to Better and its fearless founder, and American Red Cross of Illinois board member, Susan Noyes, for her efforts to share these stories. Now, you too can learn more about our heroes.
From the brave water rescue of Lieutentant Chmelar and Firefighter Chad Tinsley, to the medical disaster relief efforts of Dr. Malik. Lauren Trylovich’s unforgettable “Thank You” from a family after CPR, Rosie Quinn’s bubbly spirit and Fritzie Fritzshall’s dedication to end hatred. Robert King’s willingness to help and Detective Hemmeler’s jump to action. Ivan Escobar’s split-second decision making and Rochelle Crump’s effort to help female veterans. Finally, Jahmal Cole’s impact on his community and our Blood Services Heroes’ motivation to help patients in need of blood.
These stories capture true heroism. We hope they leave you inspired. Honorees were selected in eleven community service categories. Heroes were chosen by an independent committee of leaders in the business and civic community from more than 200 nominees. We hope you read their stories.