Red Cross honors local heroes

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 11:56 AM

Jesus Lopez Jr.

OGDEN — In times of crisis, there are ordinary people who step up to help others without looking for reward or praise.

Some run into a burning building to rescue loved ones, others gather to pull victims from a car in a freezing river, while some just wait with a fatally injured woman until help arrives.

The American Red Cross of Northern Utah honored community members who displayed acts of courage and selflessness at the 2012 Heroes Award Event Breakfast on Wednesday at Union Station.

Development director Stephanie Christiansen said this is the 10th year the chapter has had the awards, which also serve as the organization’s most important fundraising event of the year.

“We like to recognize the heroes that inspire us,” Christiansen said, “because they stand behind our mission, which is teaching people to be prepared.”

This year, the Red Cross recognized 19 individuals in six categories.

Abbass al Sharif was one of a group of people who received the Community Good Samaritan Heroes Award for helping overturn a car that had trapped a motorcyclist underneath it near Utah State University.

“All of us are human beings, and one of the qualifications to be a human being is to care about others,” al Sharif said in a video presentation during the event.

He received the award with Anvar Suyundikov, Mitch Sandall, Brett Cheney, James Odei, Thomas Timpken, Kelsey Alder, Michael Johnson, Kathryn Grigg and Matt Barney.

The organization also presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Weber County Search and Rescue, whose members volunteer their time, training and experience to help the community and visitors to the county.

“It’s amazing to lead a group of guys that serve the community,” Commander Don Olsen said. “I’m pretty proud of our organization and the Red Cross, which does such a good job for the community.”

Through his work, Olsen said, he has seen the benefits of the Red Cross. The Red Cross has been there to help victims as well as the Search and Rescue volunteers themselves.

“I think it’s a great relationship,” Olsen said. “As first responders we’re there to help short-term, and the Red Cross is there to help them long term — to help them get back to their normal life.”

Mayor Mike Caldwell accepted the Light of the Community Award on behalf of the greater Ogden community for the response following the Jan. 4 shootout that left one police officer dead and five others wounded.

“It’s just a reflection of the amazing community we live in,” Caldwell said. “This is an amazing town, and I’m honored to be a part of this.”

Lee Parry received the 2012 Adult Good Samaritan Hero Award for his efforts to save 4-year-old Kamden Larose on Sept. 7, 2011.

While on a delivery call for RC Willey, Parry pulled the youngster out of a window well filled with water where the boy landed after falling from a second-story window. Thanks to Parry’s quick actions, the child received immediate medical attention and is fine today.

“I’m just an average guy doing my job,” Parry said. “I just consider myself lucky to be there.”

Chris Willden, Bruce Willden, Kristen Scott, Morgan Carlson and David White received the First Responder Heroes Award for their efforts to pull a family out of a car that went off of the road and into the river in Logan Canyon on Dec. 31, 2011.

Jordan Haviland, 16, received the Family Hero Award for saving his young sister and brother June 16, 2011.

When the house caught fire, Jordan got his stepmother out and then rescued the children from the basement.

Vaughn Anderson received the Marine/Water Rescue Hero Award for staying by Esther Fujimoto after she was fatally injured by a boat in Pineview Reservoir on Aug. 21, 2011.

Responding to her cries for help, Anderson kept Fujimoto above the water and comforted her until rescuers reached the scene.

Jeff Lemperle accepted the Medical Rescue Hero Award for using his training to help a man who had jumped from a truck on Hill Air Force Base.

His actions gave time for the family to say their last goodbyes and make the decision to donate organs.

Weber County Commissioner Craig Dearden sat on the selection committee that chose the recipients.

“We had a lot of nominations — great stories, great people — it was difficult making the final choices,” Dearden said, “but I think the ones we came up with are great examples of heroes.”

To donate to the American Red Cross of Northern Utah visit or call Christiansen at 801-625-0865.

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