A Salute To Bravery

Moon Brook Country Club was the gathering place for many local luminaries and brave souls as they were commended for their inspirational actions on Wednesday morning by the American Red Cross.

As part of the 2015 Hometown Heroes Breakfast, several individuals and organizations were honored by the Western New York Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The awards were presented by Cummins Inc. Jamestown Engine Plant.

Crowded around tables were courageous, giving, daring and brave-hearted members of the community deserving of recognition, according to the Red Cross.

Chuck Marra, executive director of the Red Cross Western New York chapter, said he was grateful to all the award winners for their actions, and was pleased to honor them.

“You will hear wonderful stories this morning,” Marra said, as he opened the ceremony. “For some, it was a spur-of-the-moment action, and for some, it was a lifetime of dedication.”

He added that this was a chance for the community and the Red Cross to say, “Thank you.”

Mike Abbate, plant manager of Cummins Inc. Jamestown Engine Plant, was proud to offer his words of praise for the nominees.

“We are here today to hear your stories,” Abbate said. “Today, we honor you for stepping out to do the right thing. This is going to be a great morning.”

Mark Goshgarian, master of ceremonies, began the program after a hearty breakfast was served to the group.

“These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” Goshgarian said.

Ann Bowers, volunteer at the Lakeshore Humane Society, was awarded the Nestle Purina Pet Care Animal Rescue Award for her service as a volunteer, as well as her dedication to helping animals.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Bowers said. “I have a deep, personal love for animals.”

The Chautauqua Patrons Insurance Company Emergency Personnel Award was awarded to Phil Wilson, clinical operations manager with Alstar EMS.

Wilson has been ith Alstar for 25 years, and also works as an educator with the Alstar EMS Training Center.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized for the work you do,” he said. “There is a great need for EMTs and first responders.”

Wilson was instrumental in bringing a certified paramedic program to the Southern Tier, Goshgarian said.

The Farm Fresh Foods Law Enforcement Award was handed to Timothy M. Riley, Lakewood-Busti Police officer, for his acts of courage in the face of grave danger.

In September 2014, Riley was on the scene of a house fire with the Busti Fire Department when he learned a child was trapped in the house. The officer then attempted to rescue the child by entering the building, but was forced out.

In another brave attempt, Riley tried use a ladder to get into the second story, but the ladder melted as he got to the top. Unfortunately, he was unable to save the child.

He was commended for his bravery and his selfless act of courage, despite ultimate danger to his person.

Emily Pembridge, volunteer at the Chautauqua County Humane Society, said she was shocked to receive the Wegmans Youth Award.

Pembridge has served as a volunteer at the Humane Society since December 2014, and has also provided foster care services for animals since 2009.

“It’s kind of strange to be recognized for doing something that a lot of other people are doing,” she said, adding that she was grateful for her time at the Humane Society. “I’ve learned so much that will help me through the rest of my life.”

Cathy Mata, organizer of Bush Industries safety program, was awarded the Jamestown Mattress Workplace Award.

She has been employed with the company for 21 years, and their Jamestown location will soon celebrate two years with no time lost to accidents.

“Safety is an integral part of Bush Industries. We view our employees as a key part of that,” Mata said. “I am just the facilitator of that. It is great that Bush nominated me and thinks what I am doing is good.”

The Everyday’s True Value Firefighter Award was given to the Lakewood Fire Department, which was nominated by Cummins Inc. Jamestown Engine Plant.

The Cummins Inc. Jamestown Engine Plant Humanitarian Award was given to Kallie Swan and the Kallie’s Krusade Foundation for their work in helping so many families through childhood illness and disease.

Kallie’s Krusade is a nonprofit organization that provides financial help for area families dealing with childhood disease. Kallie Swan, the namesake of the organization, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2013. Shortly after, the Swan family began the crusade against cancer as the community rallied around them to help ease the financial burden of the illness and treatment.

Tragically, Kallie Swan passed away on May 6, leaving behind a lasting legacy and a tearful community.

Tara and Shane Swan, Kallie Swan’s parents, accepted the award.

“It’s unfortunate that it take something like this to realize how great a community (we have),” Shane Swan said. “It kind of chokes you up a little bit.”

Tara Swan added that they were glad to continue helping other families through such difficult times.

“We’re very thankful to do this in honor of Kallie,” she said. “We just hope she is smiling down on us and knows what she has done.”