Some have sacrificed their lives. Others saved lives. On Wednesday, the Red Cross honored 11 heroes from Washington state.
Eight-year-old Samantha Kelley isn’t used to the spotlight. But climbing up to the podium to receive her award , she was a star.
“I’m very happy to be here and when I grow up, I may be a nurse,” said Kelley.
A few minutes of fame from the Red Cross is the price she pays for saving her friend’s life.
“I’m like, I have to do something. So I just remembered the Heimlich maneuver. I did it, and I’m a hero!” she said.
Samantha is one of 11 Pierce County heroes honored. Remember the Reno Air Show crash? Three Tacoma first responders were in the stands that day. If they hadn’t been, the death toll would have been higher.
“This is what we do. The hero name is not an appropriate name for what we did,” said one of the first responders.
The Red Cross also honored Nick Hall, the Mount Rainier ranger who slipped and fell to his death while helping to rescue four stranded climbers.
Heroes, it would seem, come in all shapes and sizes - and breeds. Take Madison the American dingo.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of having a dog like her,” said Madison’s owner, Michaela Lee.
Madison saved her owner when a pack of raccoons attacked her.
“To recognize that she really did save my life, it’s pretty cool!”said Lee.
An honor that changed the lives of those they helped. For young Samantha, it inspired a possible career path.
“Like, anything with like probably CPR,” she said.
This was the 19th year of the Heroes Breakfast for the Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter. Here is the full list of those honored:
2012 AMERICAN RED CROSS PIERCE COUNTY HEROES BREAKFAST AWARD RECIPIENTS
Ranger Margaret Anderson, of Mount Rainier National Park will be honored with the Marvin Klegman Memorial Award for giving her life to protect and save the lives of park visitors from a dangerous shooter that fled into the park on New Year’s Day.
Ranger Nick Hall, of Mount Rainier National Park will also be honored with the Marvin Klegman Memorial Award for giving his life while helping to rescue four climbers who had fallen into a crevasse on Mount Rainier. The four climbers are safe and alive because of Hall’s courageous efforts.
Jeff Wyrwitzke, Bill Dixon, and David Elmer, Tacoma First Responders, will be honored with the Medical Rescue Award for giving life-saving medical assistance and emotional support to the victims of the Reno Air Show Crash. While this tragedy took many lives, the casualties were lessened by the assistance of these three men.
Matthew Fleming, a Tacoma Firefighter, will be honored with the Water Rescue Award for saving a stranded boater who was close to drowning in Commencement Bay after his boat capsized. The boater was rescued by Fleming who took him to shore where he received medical help.
Staff Sgt. Landon Jensen will be honored with the Military Hero Award for pulling a woman out of a burning car and taking her to safety after she crashed along a busy street in Tacoma. He also made sure other victims of the crash were okay and made sure everyone was safe.
Senior Airman Andrew Moser and Airman First Class Micah Myers will be honored with the Good Samaritan Award for responding to a pedestrian who fell to the ground after suffering a seizure. The two men rushed to his side, provided first aid and reassured him until paramedics arrived.
Madison, a 6-year-old American Dingo, will be awarded the Animal Rescue Award for protecting her owner Michaela Lee who was attacked by a pack of raccoons while she was coming home from a jog around Steilacoom Park.
8-year-old Samantha Kelley will be honored with the Isaac Mattich Star of Courage Award for quickly responding and performing abdominal thrusts on her friend who was choking on a tangerine during a play date. With Samantha’s help, her friend coughed up the piece of fruit and was able to breathe again.