Red Cross Celebrates Hometown Heroes at Annual Breakfast

SPRINGFIELD — The American Red Cross of Western Massachusetts and members of the community came together on March 19 for the chapter’s 13th annual Hometown Heroes Breakfast, celebrating people who have exemplified the mission of the Red Cross over the past year.

As the its largest fund-raiser of the year, with more than 500 individuals, community leaders, business owners, and others in attendance, this event helps the local Red Cross chapter continue its mission of preventing, responding to, and preparing for emergencies throughout Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. This year’s heroes are:

Bryan Paul Tredo. While responding to a fire on the sixth floor of an apartment building in Springfield, Lt. Tredo and firefighter Joemar Casiano made entry into a smoke-filled room where they found a man in distress. Tredo and Casiano rescued him from the apartment, and Tredo provided oxygen from his own mask so that he could breathe. Upon bringing the victim outside, Tredo dropped to the ground and went into cardiac arrest. Firefighters performed CPR before AMR personnel utilized a defibrillator to stabilize Tredo so that he could be transported to Baystate Medical Center.

Vicky Martins Auffrey. At age 3, Jessica Martins was diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental reversal disorder. Although she lived her life in a wheelchair, Jessica’s family fostered a loving and inclusive environment and made sure she was involved in all types of activities. When Jessica passed away in October 2009, the community that had watched her live and love life came together to form Team Jessica Inc., with her mother, Martins Auffrey, as president. Team Jessica has dedicated itself to keeping Jessica’s memory alive by enhancing awareness of people with disabilities in Western Mass. and by supporting initiatives that will improve the lives of people with special needs. Martins Auffrey led a grass-roots effort to build a 100{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} handicap-accessible playground in Belchertown.

Susan Patricia Lecrenski and Whitney Shortt. One morning, during her normal route to Agawam High School, bus driver Lecrenski was made aware of a student suffering an allergic reaction due to an airborne allergen. She immediately pulled over the bus in order to assist the student, who had forgotten to bring her Epi-Pen from home. Shortt, a senior student sitting nearby, quickly pulled out her own Epi-Pen and handed it to Lecrenski, who quickly injected the student. She then continued the drive and notified the school so there was an ambulance waiting. Shortt’s swift action and Lecresksi’s professional behavior were instrumental in helping the distressed student.

Paul Ganieany Jr. While driving on Chapin Street in Ludlow, nursing student Ganieany noticed a 69-year-old male collapsed on the sidewalk. He pulled over and approached the non-responsive man. Taking immediate action, he checked for a pulse and, upon finding none, began performing CPR. Another bystander quickly drove to the nearby fire station and reported the medical emergency. Minutes later, an ambulance arrived and resuscitated the man before delivering him to Baystate Medical Center. Ganieany’s ability to think under pressure and utilize his training helped ensure a positive outcome.

Matt Gosselin. During an initiation ceremony at the Meadows Masonic Lodge in East Longmeadow for new members Gosselin and Steve LeFeure, LeFeure suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed. Gosselin, who was trained in CPR as an EMT, administered CPR for LeFeure until paramedics arrived. His actions allowed EMTs to revive LeFeure and transport him to a local hospital.

Landon Himmelreich. Eleven-year-old Himmelreich first became aware of Socktober, a fund-raiser to bring awareness to the needs of the homeless, after viewing a television ad. He went to his school teachers, friends, and family and asked if he could collect socks and other items that could benefit the homeless. After only a short time, he managed to collect enough materials to fill the back of a pickup truck. Items included 285 pairs of socks, comforters, blankets, coats, clothes, toiletries, and even a teddy bear. Himmelreich and his parents delivered the items to Providence Ministries in Holyoke for its mission to help the homeless.

Gina and Radcliffe Kenison. Both of the Kenisons’ children, Radcliff and Arthur, were diagnosed with autism at a young age. After making it their mission to find out all they could about autism, the couple began a nonprofit organization called Radcliff Is the Reason and Arthur Too! Fight for Autism, which hosts a golf tournament every year. The money raised by this event helps fund programs for those with autism and also purchases sensory supplies, toys, art supplies, and more to local school families with autistic children.

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