PLAINS TWP. — One saved a couple from a burning vehicle, another hauled three folks out of a frigid lake while he himself had fallen through the ice, and yet another returned thrice to the war-torn Middle East in the name of American freedom.
It’s no question what these local folks have in common: They’re heroes. And the American Red Cross is honoring them this week, many of whom put their own lives in jeopardy for others’ well being.
For the last six years, the American Red Cross Wyoming Valley Chapter has hosted the Everyday Heroes Awards Breakfast to honor those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty as law enforcement, emergency personnel or average citizens to help others.
The breakfast is a Red Cross fundraiser to benefit the chapter, and it will be held at 8 a.m. Friday in the Woodlands Inn & Resort. WBRE-TV reporter Andy Mehalshick is to be master of ceremonies.
“In our local communities, there are many everyday heroes,” Jolen Miraglia of the Red Cross said in a news release. “Some heroes perform courageous acts, others save a life and still others make positive changes in their communities.”
This year’s winners
• Retired Butler Township police Chief David Pavelko is to receive the Spirit of Heroism Award for following the mission of the Red Cross, saving lives and making a positive impact on his community’s safety.
• Kingston Township police officer Michael Huntzinger is to receive the Law Enforcement Award for saving three people who fell through the icy lake at Frances Slocum State Park last March.
• Kingston Township Code Enforcement Officer William Eck, who also is a member of the Trucksville Volunteer EMS, is to receive the Fire Safety Award for saving a 3-year-old boy.
• Ed Gashi of Harding is to receive the Good Samaritan Award for helping two people escape a burning vehicle on Carverton Road, Kingston Township, last winter.
• Staff Sgt. Erik Olson of Conyngham is to receive the Military Hero Award for protecting national freedom with the Army. Olson served three combat tours — two in Iraq, one in Afghanistan — and already has been awarded two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star with Valor for taking six traumatic hits from enemy fire.
• McAdoo Volunteer Fire Company is to receive the Fire Safety Award for rescuing four people from a burning home.
• Wyoming Valley Dog Squad Troop 221 is to receive the Animal Hero Award for its efforts to buy and donate pet oxygen mask kits to local emergency medical and fire departments.
• UGI Utilities is to receive the Corporate Good Citizen Award for its contributions to the American Red Cross.
Tickets to the breakfast cost $25 per person and may be purchased by calling 570-823-7161