Red Cross hands out Real Heroes awards

Idaho Falls Police Department’s Captain Steve Hunt and Volunteer Director, Shirlene Tomchak receive the Animal Rescue award during Red Crosses East Idaho Real Heroes award ceremony on Thursday. John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

Idaho Falls Police Department’s Captain Steve Hunt and Volunteer Director, Shirlene Tomchak receive the Animal Rescue award during Red Crosses East Idaho Real Heroes award ceremony on Thursday. John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

Safe Haven Care Center employees and members of the Pocatello Fire Department receive the Fire Safety Heroes award during Red Crosses East Idaho Real Heroes award ceremony on Thursday. John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

Lazai Koontz, Whitney Apel, and Joshua Clarke receive the Youth Hero award during Red Crosses East Idaho Real Heroes award ceremony on Thursday. John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

The American Red Cross of Greater Idaho honored citizens for heroic acts big and small during the fourth annual East Idaho Real Heroes Award luncheon Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Idaho Falls.

According to a Red Cross news release, the event honors east Idaho individuals who put their own safety at risk to help save the life of another.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring our communities together to honor some truly remarkable people,” Christopher Davis, chief development officer for the Red Cross of Greater Idaho and Montana, said in the release. “Today’s heroes are all bold, humble and selfless and really represent the humanitarianism of the Red Cross.”

The release said more than 150 people, including first-responders, community leaders and elected officials, attended Thursday’s luncheon.

The honorees are:

Fire Safety heroes: The Pocatello Fire Department and Safe Haven Care Center staff were honored for their efforts to safely evacuate the care center’s 49 residents during a fire that completely destroyed the building.

Law Enforcement heroes: Idaho Falls Police Officer Bart Whiting was recognized for keeping a suicidal military veteran with a gun from harming himself or others.

Youth heroes: Lazai Koontz, Joshua Clarke and Whitney Apel, all of Ammon, were honored for helping authorities locate a vehicle that was swerving all over the road and crashing into mailboxes and fences. The teens called 911, followed the vehicle and began recording it with a cellphone. The driver was charged with her fourth DUI.

Medical heroes: Highland High School Athletic Director Keith Forkin and off-duty Pocatello firefighter Jake Liday were honored for helping save a 77-year-old referee who suffered a heart attack while officiating a high school basketball game.

Search and rescue hero: The Teton County Sheriff’s Department, Grand Teton National Park rangers and Randy Lee and Jonathan Cook, both of Idaho Falls, were honored for helping rescue a man who had a heart attack during a backcountry ski trip to Maverick Peak.

Animal rescue hero: The Idaho Falls Animal Shelter staff and volunteers were awarded for caring for the 1,800 dogs and 2,500 cats that came into the shelter in 2017.

Workplace hero: UPS driver Coy Danner of Idaho Falls was honored for helping pull a man from a vehicle submerged in water following a crash.

Water safety hero: Idaho Falls Fire Department, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and Nathan Fillmore were honored for rescuing a man who had fallen into the Snake River on a cold January day.

Blood donor hero: Taylorview Middle School teacher Jeremy Plothow was recognized for donating blood, and

helping save lives, for more than 10 years.

Every Day Citizen hero: Larry Orchard was honored for helping save his wife from an explosion and fire inside their camper. With burns on his hands and back, Orchard ran into the camper, got his wife out and then used his elbows to steer as he drove an hour to the nearest medical facility in Arco.

Spirit of the Red Cross: Pocatello Police Officer Kenny McClure was recognized for helping a homeless man he saw walking down the street barefoot on a cold December day. McClure bought the man a pair of shoes and an also a bus ticket to Idaho Falls where he was trying to go.

ADVERTISEMENT