A young man saved from drowning is inspired to become a lifeguard and, a few years later, saves an 11 year-old boy. Two volunteer firefighters who have devoted countless hours to helping seniors in their community with safety, preparedness and health outreach programs. A doctor who makes medical mission trips to perform advanced surgeries in developing countries saves a life in a different way, as a blood donor to a critically ill patient in Kenya. A brother and sister who used CPR training they learned in school to save their younger brother from choking. A soldier who worked to rescue and provide basic medical care to wounded comrades after a surprise attack, despite sustaining grave injuries of his own. A teen who helps to save family members from an intense fire without regard to their own fears or safety.
Each year, the American Red Cross honors heroes at events that celebrate people who step forward to help when others might say it’s not worth the effort or too dangerous. We honor these heroes because they help with no expectation of reward; they help because it’s the right thing to do. The Red Cross in Connecticut and Rhode Island has hosted Heroes celebrations for nearly 15 years. The events never fail to inspire the people who attend. And to a person, the honorees say that they don’t deserve the recognition, or that there is someone else more deserving. We think they’re wrong. What they do is extraordinary. And we honor them for their deeds and to remind people of another group of everyday heroes who volunteer for the American Red Cross.
Nearly every second of every day, someone is assisted by the American Red Cross. We respond to disasters 190 times a day. Each day, 18,000 people receive lifesaving Red Cross health and safety training including mobile app downloads. Someone receives a Red Cross blood transfusion 5,600 times each day. And every day, the Red Cross provides 1,000 services to military members, their families and veterans. We do this work with donated dollars, donated blood and the donated time of tens of thousands of volunteers. More than 96% of the American Red Cross workforce is volunteers. They are the everyday heroes who provide comfort to someone displaced by disaster or to a military family trying to contact a service member during an emergency. They are the skilled trainers who provide lifesaving training. And they are the friendly faces who greet you at blood drives. When we celebrate the people who do the extraordinary in service to others, we also honor the spirit of those everyday heroes who give so freely of themselves to help their neighbors when they need it most.
Take a moment to learn more about this year’s heroes celebrations and to learn more about past honorees by visiting www.redcross.org/ct/heroes.
- Mario J. Bruno CEO, American Red Cross