Local heroes honored at Red Cross breakfast

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

Updated: March 8, 2013, 6:04 PM

 

Real Heroes Breakfast

Photos from the 2013 Southwest Washington American Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast.

Annalee Hoffman-Shives said something “just wasn’t right” when she spotted a motorcycle lying in the road on her way home from work near Kelso in September.

So the registered nurse pulled her car over and found the driver of the motorcycle in the grass gasping for breath. She monitored the man’s vitals and directed others who stopped to help for 15 minutes before emergency responders arrived.

Hoffman-Shives, five others and one dog were honored Friday morning at the Real Heroes breakfast for taking action to help others. About 700 people packed into the Hilton Vancouver Washington to attend the event, the only fundraiser for the American Red Cross of Southwest Washington.

The event opened with a series of sketches by Magenta Theater Company that highlighted what the Red Cross does, including assisting people after a disaster, and preparedness training. Former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard was one of two soldiers who made an appearance in uniform. The Red Cross Youth Council and about 25 children from Groove Nation also performed a “Gangnam Style” dance.

Suzanne Arnits, community partners director for the local Red Cross, said that this year’s breakfast was the largest in its 16-year history. She said stories of heroes were chosen to help inspire others.

John Cody Clark of Vancouver was named the Youth Good Samaritan Rescue Hero. He rushed to the aid of another teen who was treading water in the ocean near Rockaway Beach, Ore., in July. Clark, a lifeguard who was flying kites with his girlfriend and nephew at the time, ran into the water to help.

“My actual (lifeguard) certification is for pools … but I had to do something,” he said in a video interview.

The current was too strong for Clark to bring the teen, Robert, to shore, so Clark helped him stay afloat until firefighters arrived 20 minutes later.

Clark, who was featured in multiple media stories after the event, heard about the possibility of being featured in the Real Heroes breakfast a few months ago.

“I thought (the story) was all over until they told me I was doing this,” he said, adding that it was for a good cause.

Also honored at the breakfast were:

• Anne McEnerny-Ogle of Vancouver, who noticed signs that her friend Gloria Ferguson may be suffering a heart attack while on a Boy Scout bike trip near Crater Lake. When her friend lost consciousness, McEnerny-Ogle and her husband performed CPR until paramedics arrived 15 minutes later. Ferguson was airlifted to a local hospital and survived.

• William Melton Jr. of Woodland, who called 911 when a surge protector exploded in his home Christmas Eve. The teen woke up his family and had his sister take the four family pets in a car.

• Shadow, a 1-year-old black Lab, who answered the call for a blood donor when another dog was in surgery for a burst spleen at the Oceanside Animal Clinic in Pacific County. Shadow, who was in the South Pacific County Humane Society, provided blood for a transfusion and then was adopted by JoAnne Bugg of Long Beach.

• Nate Cook, a Vancouver firefighter who heard gunshots outside his Hough neighborhood home in August. He ran outside and found a neighbor had been shot multiple times at close range and started providing life support before firefighters and police arrived. Officials said if Cook had not provided first aid, the victim would have bled to death.

• Michelle Rushing, a Vancouver woman who was attending a family reunion near Gaston, Ore., when she heard screams coming from the area around Sain Creek. A family, including eight children, who were wading in the water stepped off a ledge into deep water. Rushing coordinated the rescue effort and was able to help save the victims.

When a chief with the local fire department arrived on scene, he told Rushing he was proud of the group and didn’t think a trained team would have done a better job with the ­rescue, she said.

“He was amazed that they all survived,” she said.