In an all-new episode of The Business Beat, Steve Jones-D'Agostino, strategic partner of Susan Wagner PR+ Best Rate of Climb, interviews Lisa Piehler (shown, right), executive director, and Elizabeth Wambui (shown, center), major-gifts associate, for the American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts and Lauren Petit (shown, left), manager of communications and community relations for Saint-Gobain Corporation, one of the sponsors of the Red Cross Central Mass. chapter's 2015 Hometown Heroes. They talk about what it takes to be a Red Cross Central Mass. Hometown Hero. Shown, is a Red Cross photo of some past Hometown Heroes.
Each April, the American Red Cross of Central Mass. holds its Hometown Heroes Breakfast. And each year during that event, local people who have done remarkable things in the community are honored. The annual signature event, which this year takes place on April 8, began as a way to honor the heroes of September 11, 2001. In the years since, it has grown into a celebration of the courage, kindness and unselfish character displayed by incredible people across Central Mass.
Past honorees include people who have had an extraordinary impact on the community or fellow man by saving a life or through community service. Members of the community are invited to nominate a local hero for consideration. Honorees will be selected by a committee of individuals from the local community, including former award recipients.
Here are the 2015 Hometown Heroes honorees, in alphabetical order by last name:
- Mark E. Leary of Fitchburg, who helped pull a man from a burning building in Fitchburg
- Kaitlin K. O’Connell of Leominster, who donated a kidney to a person that she did not know
- Terry and Pam Parker of Charlton, who founded Nick’s House, a home for returning veterans suffering from PTSD, in memory of their son, Nick Perry
- Darlene Russell of Gardner, who helped rescue a mother and her baby from their burning car on I-190
This year’s Britney Gengel International Humanitarian Award will be awarded to a group of doctors and nurses for their work in response to the Ebola crisis. The group is comprised of:
- ACCEL (Academic Consortium Combating Ebola in Liberia) of theGreater Worcester area
- Moses Makor of Worcester, who worked with the Liberian Association of Worcester County to raise awareness and funds to combat Ebola
- Richard Sacra, MD, of Holden, who contracted Ebola, was cured, and has returned to Liberia continue his work
Here are the 2015 Hometown Heroes honorable mentions, in alphabetical order by last name:
- Engineers Without Borders USA – Worcester Polytechnic Institute Student Chapter in Worcester, which, through a Global Grant from Rotary International, is embarking on a expanded project to harvest rainwater in Guachtuq, Guatemala. This will bring a much-needed clean-water supply to additional households in this community
- Michael McCallan of National Grid, who, through his role as director of emergency planning, is training employees on how to respond to emergency situations
- Senior Allied Help Students in Worcester, which hosted a CPR marathon at Worcester Technical High School that certified 135 people.
- Staff Sergeant Daniel R. Papagno of Clinton, who was the only person to assist a Worcester police officer in restraining a young man wielding a gun as a crowed stood and watched
- Kevin Shaughnessy of Worcester, who has worked to improve the lives of veterans in Worcester through his work with Habitat for Humanity and Veterans Inc.
- Laura Wonderlie of Worcester, who has implemented a literacy plan at the Seven Hills Charter Public School in Worcester to help improve reading levels of students from kindergarten through grade 8