October 25, 2014

Elyria
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Real-life superheroes honored by Red Cross

ELYRIA — Batman and Superman mixing and mingling with a bunch of Girl Scouts made for an interesting dinner Thursday when the Lorain County chapter of the American Red Cross honored this year’s Real Heroes of Lorain County.

This year’s recipients included workers at the Ridge Tool Co. and Genon power plant who revived workers who had heart attacks, two workers at the Lorain County Landfill in New Russia Township who rescued a dog dumped in the landfill and a Boy Scout who helped a fellow Scout who suffered a head injury in the woods.

The annual dinner, which began in 2005, drew 240 people to the Spitzer Center at Lorain County Community College, according to Red Cross officials.

The dinner helps raise money for the chapter. About $20,000 was raised last year.

“It’s just a wonderful time to be able to get those stories out that are very positive,” said Rita Campbell, chapter executive director.

This year’s Community Hero Award went to Edwin M. Oley, president and CEO of Mercy.

Each honoree or group of honorees had a different story to tell, but all shared one commonality: their efforts saved or changed the life of another.

■ Five girls from Girl Scout Troop 50-157 from Avon Lake collected personal care items to donate to Genesis House — the domestic violence center for Lorain County. After the girls sought donations and raised money to buy supplies, 80 care packages were made. The girls are Kaitlyn Hards, Katy Hawkinson, Lina Heuer, Maeve Manion and Erin Litzler. n Avon Lake resident Rebecca Vento began an aggressive water safety program after two drownings along the lakeshore in the city. In her work, she reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard, Avon Lake Schools and local media outlets. She was nominated by a member of the Coast Guard who was impressed with her work.

■ Ridge Tool employee Joe Kovarik is a certified EMT/paramedic and Doug Hayes is a safety team member. Together, they responded to an employee in distress and started lifesaving

CPR while help arrived.  They hooked him up to an automated external defibrillator, which shocked him several times before an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital.

■ Brett Hubbard and his cousin were attending a week of overnight summer camp at the Firelands Boy Scout Camp when one night his cousin tripped, fell and hit his head while the two boys were exploring. Brett stayed calm and guided his cousin out of the remote area. He immediately went to find the first aid officer on duty and Brett’s cousin was taken to the hospital, where doctors confirmed his elbow was broken in three places and he suffered a concussion.

■ Alex Figueredo coordinated the Ohio Correctional Blood Drive Challenge between the North and South facilities at Grafton Correctional Institute. At that drive, 18 to 20 pints of blood were collected. Figueredo was also the man to coordinate this church’s annual blood drive. Between the two drives, more than 80 pints of blood were brought in this year, helping 240 people.

■ Members of the Elyria Parks and Recreation lifeguard staff performed a flawless rescue of one of their own this summer. Lifeguard Anne Milchen was getting out of her chair when she fell approximately 6 feet with her head and upper body hitting the water and her lower body slamming onto the deck and gutter of the pool. The crew immediately sprung into action. They operated as a team, remained calm and as a result Milchen did not suffer any serious injury.

■ Dion Granger and Kirk Serbian were going about their work as mechanics at the Republic Services Landfill in Oberlin. They got a call from a bulldozer operator who saw movement in a pile of trash. They found Charlie, a beloved dachshund, who got out of his yard and vanished. The dog was wrapped in tape from the neck down, bleeding and covered in garbage and dried red paint. The dog was eventually reunited with his owners, a family from Wellington.

■ Genon Energy Inc. employees Scott Barnes, Adrian Peyton and Bob Laeng worked together to help a co-worker who collapsed on his way to the break area. He was unresponsive and a frightening purple when Barnes found him. Along with Barnes, Peyton and Laeng, who are all trained in CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator started on their co-worker while waiting for the Avon Lake Fire Department to arrive. It was later learned that employee Michael O’Neil suffered a major heart attack. He has since returned to work.

■ Christine Quarando became an American Red Cross-trained lifeguard in high school. She used those skills this past summer in North Carolina when she saved a woman caught in a strong current and unable to help herself. The woman was in the center of a whirlpool. Still, Quarando was able to pull her to safety and back to shore

■ Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio started in 2010 as the brainchild of North Ridgeville resident and eighth-grade teacher Brian Chulik. He credits the Cleveland Clinic with saving his life after they discovered he was suffering from a ruptured appendix. While in the hospital he saw many young patients struggling to recover from serious illnesses. It inspired him to start the super hero group and now, Chulik and many of his friends go around to area hospitals to visit young patients dressed as superheroes.