Red Cross Hometown Heroes Breakfast

Red Cross Hometown Heroes Breakfast

The Red Cross held its inaugural Hometown Heroes Breakfast Tuesday morning at the RIT Inn & Conference Center.
The Red Cross held its inaugural Hometown Heroes Breakfast Tuesday morning at the RIT Inn & Conference Center.

News 8 was a proud sponsor for the event.

Anthony Palermo received the Humanitarian Hero Youth Award for helping save his grandfather.

University of Rochester medical students Bridget Hughes, Sarah Nevarez and Lindsay Wahl, along with officers Adam Alliet and Paul Dondorfer received the Humanitarian Hero Adult Award for saving two toddlers that fell into the Erie Canal.  Nevarez accepted on behalf of Hughes and Wahl who had classroom commitments.

Police Captain David Smith is the Blood Services Hero for organizing 47 blood drives at the Public Safety Building.

The Workplace Safety Heroes are Kara Calabro and Dina Smock, who helped save a man who went into cardiac arrest at the Midtown Athletic Club.  "Anyone can be a hero really and it's just, you know, I did what I had to do that day and I wouldn't have changed it," said Calabro.

The Philanthropic Blood Hero is Greg Polisseni of the Polisseni Foundation, which has raised funds for a new Red Cross Bloodmobile.  His mother Wanda and sister Valerie Wilcox accepted on his behalf.

The Emergency Response Hero is Eric Smegelsky who helped save a neighbor's eight month old son.

The Military Heroes are Brad O'Keefe and his dog Earl.  The two were reunited after serving together in Afghanistan.

Six people shared the Animal Rescue Hero Award - Jennifer Lloyd, Connie Gates, Howard and Pamela Merimsky, Kathryn Rivers and Barbara Acomb-Hollands.  They helped locate and return a missing sheltie to its owners after nine months.  "I was raised just to do the right thing," said Acomb-Hollands.  "You do, just like Kara said, you do what you're supposed to do, you don't think about that hero title."

The keynote remarks were given by two survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings, Pete and Gina DiMartino.  "I lost a lot of blood, so definitely, we were thankful for the blood they were able to provide," said Gina.

"You know they helped us out a lot and we want to give back to them and help other people out," said Pete.

Nancy Blaschak is the Regional CEO for the American Red Cross.  "The Red Cross is filled with volunteers that do extraordinary work, normal people like you and me that do great stuff day in and day out, and we thought this was a great opportunity to connect with the mission of the Red Cross and let the community know that we have heroes among us that we rarely hear about," she said.

For more information about the work done by the Red Cross and its volunteers everyday, or to make a donation to help the Red Cross continue its programs, click here.
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