The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is honoring Lt. David Chmelar and Firefighter/Paramedic Chad Tinsley as the organization’s 2020 Firefighter Heroes.
On June 30, 2019, Chmelar and Tinsley responded to a rescue on the Fox River. Three people were stranded on a disabled boat that was getting dangerously close to the dam. The situation became dire, as a severe storm and strong winds kept pushing the disabled vessel towards the dam, and the boat’s anchor wasn’t holding. Chmelar and Tinsley immediately jumped into action. Despite the challenging weather conditions, they were able to reach and rescue two adults and one teenager trapped on the disabled boat. Less than a minute after the rescue, the boat went over the dam and capsized. Thanks to Chmelar and Tinsley, three lives were saved that day.
“It’s an honor for the American Red Cross to recognized Everyday Extraordinary individuals like Lt. David Chmelar and Firefighter Chad Tinsley who as first responders put their lives on the line to save others,” said Celena Roldán, CEO of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois.
For the past 18 years, the Chicago & Northern Illinois Red Cross has honored each class of heroes at its Heroes Breakfast, typically attended by nearly 1,000 individuals. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Chicago & Northern Illinois Red Cross is unable to host this event in person but will honor this class of heroes via traditional and social media coverage beginning Tuesday, April 14.
Follow us @chicagoredcross on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to watch these heroes tell their stories of determination, resilience and kindness. You can also join the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois on LinkedIn as we tell the beautiful stories of these Everyday Extraordinary individuals. We invite you to help us share these amazing stories with your friends and family across social media.
Additional honorees were selected in 11 community service categories. Heroes were chosen by an independent committee of leaders in the business and civic community. For the complete list of 2020 Heroes, visit redcross.org/heroes.
Thank you to all our generous sponsors, including: Better, Edwardson Family Foundation, Kirkland & Ellis, CSX, KPMG, Walgreens and to our media sponsor CBS 2.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties, including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.