The Red Cross will honor the heroic, lifesaving and outstanding actions of local community members at the Hero Awards Breakfast on March 9, 2018 at the Vancouver Hilton.
For 21 years, the Red Cross in Oregon and Southwest Washington has honored local people for risking their own lives to save the life of another or for going beyond the call of duty to positively impact the community. Last year, nearly 600 people attended the 20th Anniversary Heroes Breakfast and Red Cross Centennial Celebration.
“The selflessness, bravery and commitment to community displayed by this year’s Hero Award winners is beyond inspiring,” said Josy Wright, board chair of the Southwest Washington Chapter of the American Red Cross. “Hearing their stories is a powerful reminder that there are amazing people among us.”
The stories of Hero Award winners honored at the event include:
Community Hero: Kim Mosiman
During the September 2017 Eagle Creek wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge, Kim Mosiman mobilized her vast network of animal owners and volunteers to coordinate a rescue effort for hundreds of livestock, horses and other large animals in the path of the massive wildfire. Mosiman managed the rescue effort nonstop for several days, making phone calls, dispatching trailer drivers and identifying safe locations for the evacuated animals to stay. Mosiman, along with several other property owners across the state, provided shelter and food to animals that were evacuated from the fire path for more than a week, until fire evacuation levels were reduced. Thanks to Mosiman’s efforts, more than 500 animals were saved from the Eagle Creek Fire’s fast-moving and deadly flames.
Good Samaritan Hero: Joshua Vincent
Joshua Vincent, a Clark Public Utilities employee, answered a customer’s phone call last March that ended up saving that customer’s life. The female customer didn’t realize she was experiencing a medical emergency during the phone call, but Vincent could tell something was wrong. Her speech was slowed, she was having trouble keeping details straight and she had mentioned a doctor’s appointment early in the conversation. Vincent kept the customer on the phone while he summoned an ambulance to her location. The customer was moments away from suffering a massive stroke, and her doctors said that had Vincent not called the ambulance when he did, she very likely would have died.
First Responder Heroes: Scott Kohler and Matt Towner, Clackamas Fire Department
In September of 2017, firefighters Scott Kohler and Matt Towner, along with crews from Clackamas Fire District #1 and Portland Fire and Rescue, responded to a two-alarm house fire in Happy Valley, Oregon, where a woman was trapped inside the burning home. Firefighters Kohler and Towner entered the burning structure and ascended stairs to the second floor, where the woman was trapped, with the carpet melting to their feet from the extreme heat. By the time they found the woman, the only safe way out of the house was through the upstairs window. As they waited for a ladder to be brought to the window from one of the fire engines, the firefighters hung from the window by rope with the woman sitting in Kohler’s lap as he balanced against the side of the fully engulfed house. The ladder arrived, and the firefighters helped the woman to the ground, where she was treated by EMS for extensive burns and smoke inhalation. The woman was quickly transported to the Legacy Emmanuel’s burn center in Portland and ultimately recovered from her injuries. She is alive today and thankful for the brave actions of Firefighters Kohler and Towner.
Give Life Hero: Brandon Parsons
In October of 2016, Brandon Parsons was at work on a construction site when he was suddenly struck by a vehicle that had veered out of its lane and slammed directly into the paving machine that Parsons was operating. The accident left Parsons with injuries so severe they required multiple surgeries and, eventually, the amputation of his right leg. His injuries resulted in Parsons needing 29 units of blood products to replace the blood he had lost. Parsons is alive and well today because of the lifesaving blood he was given while under medical care. After he was released from the hospital, it was important for Parsons to be able to give back. In November 2017, he organized a blood drive, collecting 34 pints of blood. Brandon continues to be a regular blood donor, plans to hold additional blood drives and will be forever grateful to the donors who supplied the blood which saved his life.
Military Hero: Crystal Purdy
Crystal Purdy has dedicated her career to serving veterans who are without family or friends in their final years of life. Through her job at a local funeral home, Purdy partners with the organization Dignity Memorial to provide no-cost final arrangements for U.S. veterans, some of whom are homeless or have no close friends or family to lay them to rest with proper military honors. In addition to helping provide this service, Purdy volunteers with local veterans’ groups outside of work, including the Portland chapter of Team Red, White and Blue, a group dedicated to enriching the lives of veterans by engaging them with their community through physical and social activity. Purdy is also the Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator for Operation Enduring Warrior, an organization whose mission is to honor, empower and motivate wounded veterans through a physical, mental and emotional rehabilitation. Purdy coordinates events for area veterans such as skydiving, snowshoeing, rock climbing, attending an opera and group dinners. Purdy is passionate about serving those to serve and looks for any opportunity to support and give back to veterans.
Youth Good Samaritan Hero: Zachary Rodgers
Zachary Rodgers was watching television with his family on November 6, 2017, when his father, Ryan, suddenly went into cardiac arrest. Without hesitation, Zachary immediately began performing CPR on his father while his mother and sister called 911. He continued doing CPR for several minutes until emergency medical services arrived and transported Ryan by Life Flight to the hospital. Zachary’s quick thinking and immediate action kept his father alive until first responders arrived. Zachary’s father, Ryan, is well on his way to recovery, and the father and son are closer now, than ever.
Voluntary Service Hero: Jack Crowell
Jack Crowell is an extraordinary Red Cross volunteer whose skills are numerous and his dedication to the mission to alleviate human suffering, overwhelming. Crowell has been instrumental in leading an effort to make the Warm Springs reservation in Central Oregon safer by helping to get smoke alarms installed and home fire safety education delivered to more than 470 people in the Warm Springs community in one year — that’s nearly 16% of the total Warm Springs population. Crowell also responds to disasters big and small, in his community and across the country, including deployments to California to provide wildfire relief assistance; and North Carolina and Florida to support hurricane relief efforts. He has driven an emergency response vehicle, used to serve food to communities following a disaster, across the United States to support Red Cross disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Matthew. In the past several years, Crowell has deployed nationally three times and responded to dozens of local disasters. As if that isn’t enough, in his spare time Crowell also volunteers to deliver lifesaving blood products from the Red Cross to hospitals. His selfless devotion to serve others makes him our 2018 Voluntary Service Hero.
The 2018 Heroes Breakfast will be held on March 9, 2018, at 7:30 a.m., at the Vancouver Hilton, 301 W 6th St, Vancouver, WA 98660. For more information, including ticket purchase, please visit American Red Cross 2018 Heroes Breakfast online.