JAMESTOWN – The American Red Cross honored some of best and brightest the Southwestern New York community has to offer during the 14th Hometown Heroes Breakfast on Wednesday, June 22 at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown.
“These are everyday people whose efforts to help their neighbors in need are truly inspirational,” said Chuck Marra, Western New York Chapter Executive Director. “The American Red Cross is proud to recognize these Hometown Heroes, and we look forward to sharing their incredible stories.”
The Hometown Heroes Breakfast is sponsored in part by Cummins Inc., Jamestown Engine Plant, and all proceeds benefit the American Red Cross. The award recipients for this year include:
Nestle Purina PetCare Animal Rescue Award
Northern Chautauqua Canine Rescue; Jann Balsono and Marcia Okerlund: Jann Balsono co-founded this “no-kill” shelter in 1999. Today, volunteers like Marcia Okerlund take in between 250-350 stray, orphaned and abandoned dogs and puppies each year, and work to secure every animal that comes through their doors permanent, loving and responsible homes.
Chautauqua Patrons Insurance Company Fire Rescue Award
Furlow Francise and Burl Swanson: As part of the Dewitville Fire Department, Furlo Francise and Burl Swanson produced what one emergency official called “one of the greatest real-life Ice Rescue operations”. When two ice fishermen had fallen through the ice on Chautauqua Lake, Francise and Swanson used a Hover Craft to reach the troubled fishermen and pull them from the icy water to shore.
Farm Fresh Foods Law Enforcement Award
Sheriff Joseph Gerace and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department: In 2015, the Sheriff’s Office 911 Center handled 78,496 E911 calls, 125,602 total calls for service for police agencies and 18,336 total calls for service for fire/EMS departments. All dispatchers are trained in Emergency Medical Dispatching (EMD). They provide pre-arrival, lifesaving information to callers who can begin first aid while EMS is responding to the scene. They have assisted with CPR, childbirth, Heimlich Maneuver, bleeding control, and much more. Since beginning the use of Narcan to help drug overdose victims last year last year, the Sheriff’s office has reported helping save four lives using the new tool.
Wegmans Adult Good Samaritan Award
Ray Domanski: On April 1st, 2015, a home on Lake Shore Drive East in Dunkirk’s 1st Ward caught on fire. This was no April Fool, as this home had no working smoke detectors. Thankfully, the families who lived there did have Ray Domanski. Mr. Domanski saw the flames, alerted the residents inside, and called 9-1-1. Thanks to his actions, seven people, including a young child, were able to escape the home safely.
Cummins, Inc., Jamestown Engine Humanitarian Blood Donor Award
Robert Fralick: If you attend a blood drive at the Jamestown Red Cross office, chances are you’ll meet a donor who will tell you that Bob Fralick encouraged them to become a Red Cross blood donor. Fralick has been donating blood to the American Red Cross for over 50 years. In that time, he has donated over 300 pints of blood, which at the time of his last donation was said to have given him the distinction of having donating the most amount of blood in the world.