Red Cross salutes local heroes
The Guilford County community took time Friday night to honor fellow residents for acts of courage and service.
The Greensboro and High Point chapters of the American Red Cross held their third annual Salute to Heroes event at the Hayworth Fine Arts Center at High Point University.
Awards were given out in three categories: public service, humanitarian/citizenship and military service.
Red Cross representatives said the event was a way to honor hometown heroes who don’t necessarily receive the recognition that they should. They said the selection committee that chose the winners is not affiliated with the Red Cross and is made up of a variety of people from all over Guilford County, including law enforcement personnel and others from a military background.
“The definition of hero is really different for everybody. It’s really when someone has made a difference in someone else’s life,” said Melanie McDonough, communications director for American Red Cross — Heart of Carolina Region. “That’s why it was difficult when our selection committee came together to narrow it down.”
The keynote speaker at the event was High Point University President Nido Qubein, who was not in attendance but delivered recorded remarks. Qubein was at the Big South basketball tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. where HPU was competing and said in his speech that he was “standing and cheering and screaming and hollering for our Panthers.”
Qubein said he was glad to see the award recipients honored for the good they do in their communities and in the world, and for serving as models, mentors and inspiration to others.
“Nothing is more pleasing to me than to salute heroes,” he said. “So to the heroes tonight, I salute you. I honor you and I rejoice in this beautiful moment to hold you up as an example for all of us.”
Qubein said he was 6 years old when his father died “and so my mother was my hero. My mother was the person who taught me all the things that were important in life. My mother worked day and night to feed us and to clothe us and to instill in us values for life and principles for living.”
He said Friday’s honorees had reached out above and beyond themselves to touch the lives of others.
“God requires us to do good things. We are our brother’s and sister’s keepers,” he said. “That’s why I love heroes.”
The event also took time to honor the late Rich Brenner, former sports anchor at WGHP, who suffered a fatal heart attack at last year’s Salute to Heroes event in Greensboro. Brenner was honored with a posthumous Salute to Heroes award for his community service endeavors.
And the heroes are ....
Carl Hall and Harry Forrest, who both work for the Guilford County Schools Maintenance Department. Hall, a High Point University graduate student, and Forrest helped save the life of one of their colleagues, Will Crosby, by administering CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after he collapsed at work and went into cardiac arrest.
Gina Jacobs, who died in 2012, was honored for her volunteer work at Oak Hill Elementary School in High Point. Serving as a volunteer coordinator, Jacobs helped tutor and mentor and Oak Hill students and helped provide them with school supplies.
Jamal Page, for interceding in a traumatic family situation. Through his efforts, he became the legal guardian for his wife’s younger sister and helped her stabilize her life.
Kendall Murphy, for saving the life of a spectator at the 2011 Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club. After a spectator collapsed at the golf course, Murphy administered CPR until additional medical help arrived on the scene.
John Tyson Fanning, Emergency Communications Specialist, Guilford Metro 911. In July 2012, Fanning was instrumental in saving two lives in two separate incidents by providing instructions on CPR over the telephone.
Firefighter Dan Jones, Greensboro Fire Department. In an October 2012 house fire, Jones located a person lying on the living room floor. He called for assistance and he and another crew member carried the person to safety.
Deputy Andrew Drake, Guilford County Sheriff’s Department. In 2011, Drake responded to a 911 call in which an individual said he was going to commit suicide. When Drake arrived at the scene, he found a man on the back porch of the home hanging from a rope. Drake reacted immediately and supported the man’s weight until additional help arrived.
Deputy Jamey Lunsford and Master Cpl. James Miller, Guilford County Sheriff’s Department. In July 2012, Lunsford and Miller were dispatched to the site of a domestic disturbance where shots had been fired. After ensuring that no more violence would occur, they turned their attention to aiding an individual who had been shot until additional emergency help arrived at the scene.
Staff Sgt. Matthew Pyle, U.S. Army. Pyle, assigned to an Army recruiting station in Greensboro, is being recognized for his actions during two separate emergency situations involving civilians. The first incident in 2011 involved a five-car accident on Interstate 40. The second incident in August 2012 involved a truck being hit by an oncoming train at a railroad crossing in Jamestown. In both instances, Pyle came to the aid of the accident victims.
John Sweeper was recognized for his efforts to restore the old Proximity Mill Cemetery in Greensboro, which had become overgrown and fallen into disrepair. Using his own funds and doing the necessary labor, Sweeper has returned the cemetery to a place that relatives of those buried there can return to visit.
Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Sean Brazas, U.S. Navy. Brazas, a Greensboro native, was killed in Afghanistan in May 2012. Brazas was ambushed by the enemy and fatally shot while helping a fellow service member into a helicopter.
Sgt. Jeremy Hardison (deceased), N.C. National Guard. Hardison, who lived in Browns Summit with his family, was killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber while on patrol in October 2012.