Red Cross honors local heroes
Robert Horrocks, director of the Council of Older Adults of Delaware County, congratulates Mara and Donald Frey during the annual Red Cross Delaware Heroes Breakfast Nov. 14. The Freys, who deliver Meals on Wheels, earned a standing ovation after the audience learned that one of their clients was moved to tears because the couple shared some of the roses they grow. Buy This Photo
Ten local heroes were honored Nov. 14 at the 2012 Heroes Breakfast, sponsored by the Delaware County chapter of the American Red Cross.
Their stories, along with winning essays written by county students, were shared during the annual program, which was launched 10 years ago after the terrorist attacks of 2001.
Matt Bertram, who in August became chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Central-Southeast Ohio Region, was among the program's attendees.
Honoring hometown heroes "aligns well with the Red Cross mission," Bertram said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to see the great things going on" in American communities.
Citizens recognized during the program, held at the Center for Older Adults, included:
* Community Hero: Abigail Sapoval, who July 19, saw her neighbor being attacked by two dogs. Although Sapoval was barefoot, she ran outside and struck the dogs, which turned on her, allowing her neighbor to escape.
* Firefighter Hero: Liberty Township Fire Chief Tim Jensen and firefighter Ben Lovell, who developed a course for community and civic leaders called "Fire Ops 101."
The six-hour course was described as "challenging" by ThisWeek reporter Brett Nuckles.
* Health Care Hero: Dr. Lori Engler of Optimal Eye Care, who offers thorough vision exams and care even to patients who have no insurance.
Engler also is fluent in Spanish, an asset at the clinic. She serves on the United Way board, and she and her husband are founding members of United Way's Young Professionals Network.
* Law Enforcement Hero: Powell Police officer Travis Dennison, who was first on the scene of a person in cardiac arrest.
Dennison immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and used the defibrillator that he had with him, to restart the victim's heart. Later, after the patient had been released from the hospital, Dennison stopped by to see how he was doing.
* Military Hero: Brian Galligher, director of the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve, served in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
He used his experience and knowledge to assist the Nuclear Power Emergency Management Team, earning the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
* Workplace Hero: Tom Nelson, an EMT-qualified Certified First-Responder at American Showa who insisted that an associate be taken to the hospital when she became weak and had other symptoms.
At the hospital, she was found to have 90-percent coronary blockage. A massive heart attack had been imminent, but Nelson's quick action and treatment saved her life.
* Youth Good Samaritan Award: Hunter Frey, a Buckeye Valley High School sophomore, a member of the AFROTC drill team and a sergeant in the Delaware County Sheriff Explorers program, went into action when his uncle, Sgt. Robert D. Gaines II, was deployed. Frey organized his fellow ROTC members and others to send large boxes of cards, snacks and even a Christmas tree to Gaines' unit.
* Older Adults Heroes: Mara and Donald Frey, who have delivered meals and hugs to Meals-on-Wheels clients for 20 years. Council for Older Adults Executive Director Robert Horrocks said the Freys also grow roses, and sometimes they give roses to each person on their meals route.
One day a client answered her door, saw Donald Frey holding a vase of roses and began to cry.
"Today's my birthday. I thought no one remembered; everyone I know is gone now," the client said.
As the Freys accepted their award, audience members applauded.
Then they rose to their feet, still clapping until the two had returned to their table.
Winners of the student essay contest are Aidan Cochrun of Olentangy's Oak Creek Elementary School; Ashley Clark of Oak Creek; Sydney Billy of Johnnycake Corners Elementary School; Brynn McGrail of Schultz Elementary School; Ekaterina Brammer of Big Walnut Intermediate School; Hannah Peterson of Delaware Christian School; Brianna Allenstein of Shanahan Middle School; Aadarsh Teli of Olentangy Hyatts Middle School; Joseph Sanfillipo of Hayes High School; and Audrey Metzger of Hayes.
For more information about the Heroes Breakfast, visit delco-redcross.org.