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Red Cross honoring six heroes at annual Acts of Courage Event

2/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

FAIRLAWN — The American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties has announced the six area heroes who will be honored for their bravery and heroism at the annual American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties Acts of Courage event.

The event, to be held March 6 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, honors local residents who have displayed extraordinary courage in the face of disaster, according to Red Cross officials.

The 2014 honorees, with information provided by the Red Cross, include:

  • Dr. Melani Sherman, of Northwest Akron, an Akron General Medical Center emergency room physician, and Dr. Humberto Choi, of Cleveland, a Cleveland Clinic physician, will be recognized for performing CPR on a fellow competitor during the Cleveland Triathlon.
    Todd Rains, 44, had just finished the swimming portion and moved on to the cycling section when he collapsed. Choi, a fellow racer, ran to Rains, whose skin was blue, and he had no pulse. Choi began CPR.
    From her bike, Sherman noticed the two men ahead on the course. She proceeded to assist Choi with compressions. Once an ambulance was able to make its way through the course, Rains was taken to an area hospital.
  • Hayden Lukasik-Barber, of Macedonia; Officer Vince Danko, of Northfield; Officer Nick Szabel, of Concord; and Officer Brandon Heisler, of Akron, will be recognized for saving Emily Cable from her burning home.
    On March 29, Heisler was out on patrol with Danko when they received a call about a possible fire. When they approached the home, they noticed 9-year-old Hayden standing at the rear of the house motioning them to the back. Hayden explained that 70-year-old Cable was in the home she shared with Hayden and his grandmother, Ruth Barber. Danko opened the back door, which was blocked by the fire. Hayden led the officers to the front of the building and told them where he and Barber expected Cable to be waiting with her walker. Danko went inside and dropped to his knees once the smoke overcame him. Outside, Szabel had also responded to the call and attempted to enter through the rear door. The heat was too much, and he retreated. Seeing Hayden, he ran to tell him to move away from the house. It was then he learned what was transpiring.
    Using the tile design as a marker of where he was going, Danko crawled through the room and connected with the leg of Cable’s walker. They worked their way back to the open door, where Heisler guided him the rest of the way by his gun belt.
  • Jace Fletcher, of Akron, will be recognized for reporting a student with a gun.
    On May 16, 11-year-old Jace boarded the bus to the Akron Public Schools National Inventors Hall of Fame® School ... Center for STEM Learning and observed a student sitting nearby who was loading a gun. He watched as the boy slipped the magazine in and heard the click of the bullet in the chamber. Safe inside his first class, Jace alerted two teachers to the situation.
  • Kelsey Parkman, of Akron, will be recognized for rescuing his Vacation Bible School instructor from drowning.
    The last day of Vacation Bible School at New Covenant Sanctuary of Praise started as a rainy summer morning. When the sun came out, 14-year-old Kelsey joined in the end-of-the-week celebration at Turkeyfoot Lake with his friends in the water. They began playing a game of keep-away with his instructor. Suddenly, the instructor began struggling and calling for help. A strong swimmer, Kelsey swam over and realized they were at place where the bottom of the lake dropped off. He pulled the instructor to safety.
  • Brian Nichols, of Akron, will be recognized for performing first aid on a car accident victim.
    At approximately 2:30 a.m. Oct. 12, Nichols heard a crash outside his home. A volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team, Nichols ran to the site. In the wreckage of the three-car accident, he saw a woman with a compound fracture of her leg and bleeding profusely. Nichols ran to get his first aid kit. On his way back to the scene, he told a bystander to check in with the nearby fire department. Handing his flashlight to another onlooker, he attempted to control the bleeding until the paramedics arrived.
  • John Duckworth, of Coventry, will be recognized for pulling a man from a burning car.
    Duckworth was heading home from work at 2:30 a.m. when he observed a Hummer crashed down an embankment on state Route 224 with its engine still running. He called 9-1-1 and then checked on the driver. Another car stopped and a man got out. Assured the driver was OK, Duckworth headed back to his own car. He then heard shouting and saw flames coming from the hood of the vehicle. Duckworth and the second man ran back to the Hummer, reached into the burning car, but the driver was trapped. Duckworth ran to his trunk to retrieve a baseball bat and shattered the Hummer’s windshield. Duckworth and the second man were able to free the driver and pull him away as the vehicle became engulfed in flames.

At the event, the American Red Cross of Portage and Summit County also will present the H. Peter Burg Award to community members who have been selfless in service to the community. This year’s recipient is Pam Williams, who demonstrates a lifelong commitment to humanitarian causes, charitable organizations and the vitality and welfare of the local community, according to Red Cross officials.

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