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  • Red Cross Celebrates Hometown Heroes at Breakfast

    Hometown Hero Sidney Weiner (left) with award presenter Len Walker, director of Business Development for American Red Cross Blood Services of Massachusetts.

    SPRINGFIELD — The American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter honored 10 individuals at its eighth annual Hometown Heroes Award Breakfast at the MassMutual Center.

    This year’s event, attended by nearly 600 people, was presented by Bay Stage Gas with leadership support provided by OMG Inc., 22News, Zasco Productions, the MassMutual Center, Centerplate, Comcast, the Insurance Center of New England Inc., Baystate Health/Baystate Health Ambulance, the Home Builders & Remodelers Assoc. of Western Mass., Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation, MassMutual Financial Group, Smith & Wesson, the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Republican. Additional support was provided by area businesses who participated as sponsors at various levels.

    The Hometown Heroes Breakfast serves as the chapter’s largest annual fund-raising event. This year’s event was expected to raise nearly $40,000 for local Red Cross services in area towns. This year’s honorees included:

    • Arnold D. Cox of Springfield and his wife, Frances Morales, who serve the youth of Springfield through ADC Prevention Services & Associates, which offers afterschool programs at Springfield Housing Authority properties, concentrating on building self-esteem, offering lessons in violence prevention, and nurturing dreams. The two were honored for their passion for and dedication to youth in Springfield and beyond.
    • Kamau Matthew Crawford of Springfield, a student-athlete at Sabis International Charter School, honored for saving his sister’s life with the Heimlich maneuver.
    • Bernie Gardner of Southwick, an aircraft-maintenance project manager at Bombardier Aerospace, honored for his demonstrated bravery and quick action in saving a stranger’s life, while being attacked by the stranger’s German shepherd.
    • Evelyn Gore, a teacher’s aide at Ryan Road School, and her son, Grant Martin, of Northampton, honored for fighting their way through thick, black smoke to save their next-door neighbor from a fire.
    • Art Jasper of Springfield, who dedicates his time to the Springfield community through his work with the homeless and his work on various community boards of directors and committees. He was honored for his tireless work with the homeless and his commitment to community service.
    • John A. O’Leary of Southampton, a Biologist with the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, honored for his courageous actions in saving the life of a car-wash attendant whose scarf was caught in one of the car-wash spinners.
    • Jared Dennis Smith of East Longmeadow, an electrician with the Federal Aviation Administration, honored for selflessly donating stem cells for bone marrow to a stranger in need.
    • Sidney Weiner of Springfield, who has served the Greater Springfield community for over 50 years as a Mason and as a Melha Shriner. He was honored for his invaluable community service and dedication to blood donation.

    In addition, the City of Northampton received special recognition at this year’s event for the unity and compassion displayed by the community during the arson fires of December 2009.

    For information on how to get involved in next year’s event, contact Dawn Leaks, assistant director of Chapter Support,

    at (413) 233-1006 or leaksd@usa.redcross.org.

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