The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 5, 2014

Area Red Cross names its 2014 heroes

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — The Ashtabula County Chapter of the American  Red Cross  has named the  “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

This group of area heroes  will be recognized at the 11th Annual Community Heroes Breakfast on March 18. The breakfast will be at the  Mount Carmel Community Center in Ashtabula beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Those selected in their particular categories include:

• Medalist Heroes, someone who risks his or her life to save another, are  Colton Hinkle and Cory Prine, both of Jefferson. Although both initially in icy water, they were able to pull Colton’s grandfather from the pond he had fallen into while the three were ice fishing.

• Distinguished Heroes, who save the life of another, are Dr. Bartolomeo Giannattasio of Ashtabula performed CPR on a fallen 5K runner until EMS arrived and transported the victim to the hospital where he survived his heart attack; and Mary Severino, also of Ashtabula, who  began donating blood as a teenager in the 1970s and has rarely missed a regular “every 56 days” donation. Her total donations are more than 20 gallons to date.

• Community Service Heroes, who are associated with an extraordinary act of kindness, courage or selflessness, are Robert Brecker of Ashtabula, who  witnessed an assault and robbery, and ran after the attacker. He  ultimately restrained him until police arrive; Sharon Bradley of Ashtabula, who took the lead when other cities backed off and began our county participation in Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics; and Larry Laurello of Austinburg, who  used his belief in the right to a choice in education to lead a resurgence and move to new location for St. John School.

• Animal Rescue Hero, who aided  the rescue of  a human by an animal or the rescue of an animal by a human, are  Diane Carr, who  served APL as board president and assured that the shelter maintained its integrity; and Rich and Carla Madarena took on the task of a “play area” for APL, which has also become a “meet and greet” for prospective adopting families.

• Youth Hero, who is 17 years or younger and associated with a rescue, or an extraordinary act of kindness, courage or unselfishness, is Tabitha Seames, age 13, of Geneva. She woke up to the crackling sound of the bedroom wall on fire. She was able to wake her family and friend and make sure all six people escaped the home safely..

• Educator Hero, who have had a significant impact on a student or group of students through kindness, courage or compassion, are Diane Ashley of Ashtabula, who has been a special needs teacher for nearly 40 years, who has  provided classroom supplies, clothing and other essentials at her own expense as they were  needed; and teacher Amanda Perisa of Conneaut, who has devoted her skills to children with autism so that reading, math skills, and sight word recognition are as much a part of her day as emotion regulation, behavior modification and toilet training.

• Director’s Award is given in recognition of an individual or group who best exemplifies, in action, the true spirit of the American Red Cross. This year the award is going to Tim Moga,  a board member for the local chapter for nearly nine years and board chair for almost three of those years. He has not only elevated the board to a higher level of participation, he has made personal sacrifice to  participate in all activities of the chapter. His leadership has allowed the chapter to move forward through extremely difficult times.

 Ashtabula County Prosecutor  Nicholas Iarocci will speak at this year’s breakfast.

“I never fail to be amazed at the tremendous nominations we receive,” Renee Palagyi, executive director, said.

The breakfast  also serves as a major fundraiser for the Ashtabula County Chapter.

Palagyi said all monies remain within our county for the purpose  of providing disaster services.

Those wishing to support the heroes may purchase breakfast tickets in person at the Ashtabula County Chapter office 433 Center Street, Ashtabula, OH or call (440) 998-1020. Tickets are $25 per person, reservations are due by  February 22nd and no tickets will be sold at the door.