December 23, 2014

Elyria
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American Red Cross Lorain County chapter selects Real Hero Award winners

From left, Shane Robinson, Brittany Robinson, Samantha Baird, 15, Mitzi Baird, Adele Flynn and Eric Flynn stand at the American Red Cross on Thursday afternoon after receiving the American Red Cross Lorain County Chapter annual Real Hero Awards. Not pictured is James Torres. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

From left, Shane Robinson, Brittany Robinson, Samantha Baird, 15, Mitzi Baird, Adele Flynn and Eric Flynn stand at the American Red Cross on Thursday afternoon after receiving the American Red Cross Lorain County Chapter annual Real Hero Awards. Not pictured is James Torres. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Shane Robinson pulled two people out of a burning car Sept. 2 while his wife, Brittney Robinson, called police.

Mitzi Baird, wife of Elyria City Councilman Jack Baird, R-at large, administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation when he had a heart attack Oct. 31. The Bairds’ daughter, Savanna, 15, called 911.

Adele and Eric Flynn helped Penfield Township Trustee Lloyd Gordon after he was critically injured after being run over by a tractor Aug. 4.

James Torres, a Neighborhood Alliance driver who delivers meals to elderly shut-ins, called Elyria police on Oct. 26, 2012, when he realized a client locked in her home had collapsed. Police credit the quick action of Torres, who wasn’t available for an interview Thursday, with saving the woman.

They told their stories Thursday as winners of the American Red Cross Lorain County chapter Real Hero Award at chapter headquarters in Elyria in preparation for a formal awards ceremony at 12:30 p.m. March 27.

The annual awards, for extraordinary actions that changed or saved a life, have been given since 2005, said Mary Fenwick, a Red Cross administrative assistant.

Winners are selected by the chapter’s 18-member Board of Directors. Torres wasn’t recognized by the Red Cross in 2013 due to an oversight, said Kathy Pennington, Red Cross executive coordinator.

Robinson, of Spencer, described being covered with blood as he pulled passenger Jeffrey Burgos II, 23, of Avon, and driver Alyssa Hovinetz, 24, of LaGrange, from their car. The vehicle crashed onto a concrete drain culvert in Huntington Township on Stewart Road east of state Route 58. Police said Burgos and Hovinetz would have burned to death if not for Robinson.

Robinson said he and Brittney Robinson reacted instinctively.

“We couldn’t sit there and watch two people burn,” he said.

Gordon would’ve choked to death on his own blood if the Flynns hadn’t reached him quickly, said Adele Flynn, Gordon’s niece. The Flynns live next store to Gordon on the family farm.

After being run over, Gordon fell on his back and his mouth was full of blood, Eric Flynn said. Flynn said he rolled Gordon on his side and tilted his face down until paramedics arrived. Eric Flynn said Gordon has lost sight in one eye, but is recovering from the accident.

Baird, CPR certified for 30 years, put her training to use when her husband had the heart attack in their bedroom. CPR success rates outside hospitals by non-medical professionals are just 5 to 13 percent, reports the Journal of the American Medical Association, but Baird beat the odds.

Baird said she did chest compressions between six and eight minutes before paramedics arrived. “It felt like a lifetime,” she said.

Jack Baird had no pulse when paramedics arrived. Baird said doctors told him he probably would have died if his wife hadn’t begun CPR immediately. If he survived, Baird said doctors told him he would have had brain damage due to the lack of blood circulation and oxygen.

Baird, 65, was in a coma for five days. He had a pacemaker installed and has recovered fully.

Fenwick said the awards ceremony is one of the chapter’s most popular events and typifies the Red Cross mission of volunteerism in emergencies.

“The Red Cross recognizes that it’s everyday people that are doing extraordinary things that should be recognized,” she said.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.