American Red Cross honors community heroes

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

Published:

 

The 18th annual American Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast honored 11 people for their heroic actions.

Here are all of the award winners:

Pet Rescue Hero: Nate Young of Vancouver.

Medical/CPR Rescue Hero: Andrew Langlois of Longview.

Group Water Rescue Heroes: Adam Bridgens of Portland, Frank Constanza of Vancouver, and Larry Morton.

Family Water Rescue Hero: Bryan Troffer of Kelso.

Workplace Rescue Heroes: Peter Harrison and Katrina Hampton, both of Vancouver.

Fire Rescue Hero: Waylon St. Clair of Vancouver.

Good Samaritan Heroes: Earlene "Sam" Anderson and James Bridger, both of Vancouver.

The 18th annual American Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast honored 11 people for their heroic actions.

Here are all of the award winners:

Pet Rescue Hero: Nate Young of Vancouver.

Medical/CPR Rescue Hero: Andrew Langlois of Longview.

Group Water Rescue Heroes: Adam Bridgens of Portland, Frank Constanza of Vancouver, and Larry Morton.

Family Water Rescue Hero: Bryan Troffer of Kelso.

Workplace Rescue Heroes: Peter Harrison and Katrina Hampton, both of Vancouver.

Fire Rescue Hero: Waylon St. Clair of Vancouver.

Good Samaritan Heroes: Earlene “Sam” Anderson and James Bridger, both of Vancouver.

While driving to work one dark morning, Waylon St. Clair noticed a strange glow ahead. The glow was coming from flames consuming a tree, fence and the side of a house.

As two other people drove past the scene — one slowing only to take a cellphone photo — St. Clair stopped his car and sprung into action. He helped a neighbor alert the residents of the fire and ran through the house and into the backyard.

Armed with a garden hose, St. Clair sprayed the flames, focusing on those near a barbecue propane tank. He tamed the fire until the fire department showed up.

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

St. Clair was one of 11 people honored Friday morning at the 18th annual American Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast at the Hilton Vancouver Washington. The Red Cross Southwest Washington chapter handed out hero awards in seven categories: Workplace Rescue, Fire Rescue, Group Water Rescue, Family Water Rescue, Pet Rescue, Medical/CPR Rescue and Good Samaritan.

While the focus of the event was to recognize residents throughout Southwest Washington for their heroic actions, plenty of people praised the Red Cross for their work in the communities.

“My hero is the Red Cross,” said Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow. “The Red Cross kept my wife alive.”

Onslow’s wife, Sandy Schill, was diagnosed with a rare blood disease when she was 22 years old. She needed plasmapheresis — or blood plasma exchanges — to stay alive. In 1986, the American Red Cross was the only available resource to provide the treatment, Schill said.

“The plasmapheresis was no cure for what I had,” Schill told the audience. “But it was a life-saving, life-sustaining measure.”

Each treatment session required 14 to 17 units of blood — all from strangers who donated to the Red Cross. During the course of her two years of treatment, Schill needed more than 1,000 units of blood.

Schill was in remission for 25 years before relapsing in 2010. She’s been in remission for four years.

“I want to celebrate my hero, the Red Cross,” Schill said. “And all of you donors, thank you.”

In the last fiscal year, the Southwest Washington chapter of the Red Cross responded to 107 fires, 10 floods and three storm-related events and provided aid to 149 families, said Amy Schlossman, chief executive officer of the Red Cross Cascades Region.

“We are the first call the fire department makes,” she said. “And we respond, day or night.”

Like the Red Cross, the community heroes honored Friday responded when they found themselves in situations where someone needed help.

Earlene “Sam” Anderson and James Bridger stopped to help Vancouver Police Officer Dustin Goudschaal after he was shot several times and critically injured by a motorist. Katrina Hampton and Peter Harrison revived a man who collapsed while working out at the Marshall Center.

And Nate Young banged on numerous doors in his apartment complex after discovering a fire in the neighboring unit. While helping to clear the building, he heard a dog barking from inside the burning building. He climbed through a window, grabbed the brown miniature pinscher and carried the dog to safety.

“It’s a surreal thing for me, because I don’t feel like a hero,” Young said. “It was a natural thing to do.”