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Red Cross seeks local heroes

Annual event celebrates those who go above and beyond

Feb. 11, 2013

Germantown - Selfless acts tend to go unnoticed. From saving someone from a burning car to giving a stray animal a home, all around Washington County people give of themselves and do not expect anything in return.

The Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross is seeking "Real Heroes" to celebrate and honor at its 10th annual Real Heroes dinner reception June 19 at the Prairie Center at West Bend Mutual, 1900 S. 18th Ave.

The Red Cross is asking for nominations in 10 different hero categories: animal hero, commitment to community, community partner, education, emergency response, health care, humanitarian, military, senior, and youth good Samaritan heroes. Nomination forms are available via mail, email or fax. To request a form, call (262) 334-5687.

Nominating is easy, said Janean Brudvig, community office director for the Washington County chapter. The form asks for basic information on the nominee, as well as a written description in 500 words or less of the "act of courage, kindness or heroism and the community impact that inspired them to nominate their hero," Brudvig said. Nominations are due by March 15.

These descriptions do not have to be long and can be as simple as a few sentences. People are encouraged to provide supporting documents such as testimonials about that person or asking others to nominate the same person.

Event raises funds

A selection committee made up of county residents will choose the real hero in each category to be celebrated in June.

Brudvig said the dinner is not only the county chapter's only fundraiser of the year, but it is a community favorite.

"It shows all that is good in the community," she said of the Real Heroes event. "Everyone that's attended the event walks away saying it's so nice to know all the good things that are happening."

Last year's award winners were nothing short of inspirational. The Humanitarian Hero was registered nurse Julie Kaplan, whose husband won a Real Hero award in 2006. Julie Kaplan was recognized for rescuing a boy from a burning vehicle.

According to the Red Cross, Julie Kaplan was on her way home one evening when she came across a burning vehicle. Once she got closer, she realized there was someone unconscious inside.

"Julie felt at ease talking to the dispatcher and calmly helped Andy Brace, a 16-year-old, from the car," the 2012 Real Hero guide says.

It is these types of selfless acts of courage and heroism the Red Cross is looking to recognize.

Funds support disaster team

The local Red Cross is still looking for event sponsors. Any proceeds from the event remain in the community, such as supporting the local disaster team. The Washington County chapter has 35 trained volunteers who are on call 24/7 in the case of an emergency such as a house fire or power outage.

"If a family is displaced from a home for one reason or another, we respond with immediate assistance," Brudvig said. "Dollars come right back to the community."

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