Heroes come in all forms. Some do dramatic deeds and other simply make life better, said Chris Davis, executive director of the Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Davis stressed how each individual honored at the Blount Count Red Cross Hometown Heroes Breakfast mentioned a similar point - they were simply doing the right thing. “Not everybody does the right thing, but we’re here to honor those people who have done the right thing,” he said.
“The neat thing is you have some who were involved in a one-time event and saved a life, and then you have those who every day make the community a better, safer place,” he said.
Davis said the Blount County Heroes Breakfast is an opportunity to thank heroes in the community, and it is also time when Red Cross volunteers and staff are recognized for their contributions.
“The most gratifying thing was having peers say, ‘We appreciate what you do. It makes it gratifying to see and recognize our volunteers in the community. It’s very rewarding.”
Board chair Matt Haralson said the 11 individuals receiving awards were chosen as examples of people who live their everyday lives in an extraordinary manner.
Haralson said that the Heroes event is the Blount County chapter’s annual fundraiser and offers an opportunity to salute hometown heroes while at the same time being a hero to support the chapter as it prepares the community for disasters and responds when tragedies occur.
Officer Brett Hall - Law Enforcement Award
When Maryville Police reserve officer P.J. Lindahl was critically injured in a traffic accident on April 19, 2009, officer Brett Hall took the lead in coordinating her friends, colleagues and neighbors to help her.
Hall worked with a committee that included her friends and colleagues at MPD, the Rush Fitness Center, the Air National Guard, Ruby Tuesday corporate office.
In order to help her with rising medical costs, the group decided to host a benefit run in downtown Maryville. They also sold T-shirts and collected donations and together they raised about $15,000.
Officer Lindahl is in high spirits and nearing a full recovery.
Because of his dedication to support his coworker and friend, Hall in the Blount County Law Enforcement hero.
Lance Corporal Trevor Hartsell - Military Award
Lance Corp Trevor Hartsell is on active duty in the Marine Corp in the infantry. Born and raised in Maryville and a William Blount High School graduate, in 2007, Hartsell joined the US Marines and was sent to Afghanistan.
While on routine security patrol, Hartsell’s Humvee was hit by a radio-controlled improvised explosive devices. He was driving, but keep his cool and escaped out of the vehicle with the other Marines.
Despite loss of the Humvee, the Marines continued their assignment of clearing the town of Taliban. They did this successfully and without further incident. When they made it back to the base, Hartsell and the other Marines were not critically injured and they returned immediately to duty. Hartsell was very honored and surprised to receive the Hero Award “I just did what any other Marine would do. We did accomplish a lot in Afghanistan and I am very proud to be part of that.”
Because of his dedication to protecting America, Trevor Hartsell is a Blount County military hero.
Robert Redwine - Medical Award
Robert Redwine has served Blount County by being an active member of the Blount Memorial Hospital board of directors for 24 years. He has been president of the board for 16 years. Redwine and the rest of the board meet once a month for a long day of committee meetings, tours, educational programs and a formal board meeting. Board members get along well and working together in appropriating the budge, measuring progress, reviewing benefits for employees and creating new programs.
Redwine has devoted much of his time to Blount Memorial Hospital because he sees it as his community service. “A hospital is an important piece of a community. It must run well, be comfortable and offer lot so services so people do not feel they need to run to Knoxville.”
It is because of his dedication to improving the community hospital that Robert Redwine is a Blount County Medical Hero.
Mike Caylor - Animal Rescue Award
Maryville Fire Department Capt. Mike Caylor is committed to helping his community in any way he can.
In January, Caylor responded to a house fire with a team of firefighters. While the firefighters were in the home, the distraught homeowner told Caylor there were newly born puppies in her house. Caylor alerted the firefighters and soon they emerged from the house with six puppies in their arms. Five were alive and moving but one was quiet and still. Everyone assumed it was dead. Caylor rushed the puppies to his car and turned on the heat to keep them warm. He got an oxygen mask, cut the tube so he could put it right up to the puppy’s mouth. He rubbed the puppy’s chest as he put the tube of oxygen near his mouth and after 5 minutes the puppy started crying. Soon the Blount County Humane Society came to provide proper medical care to the puppies.
Because of Caylor’s dedication to saving the lives of others, including those with four legs, he is a Blount County Animal Rescue Hero.
Kathy Shields - Emergency Personnel Award
Kathy Shields has lived in Blount County for about 30 years and worked for Blount County Emergency Management Agency since 2008. She has written numerous grants and the office has received more than $3 million in grant money, often from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. These funds are used to provide Blount County first responders with proper training and equipment.
Because of her record of success in helping first responders and emergency management, and her dedication to improving public safety and emergency responders, Kathy Shields is the Emergency Personnel Award winner.
Jason Stinnett and Daniel Fipps - Firefighter Award
On Jan. 28, Blount County firefighter Jason Stinnett worked with Maryville firefighter Daniel Fipps to save a man from a house fire.
Stinnett was working with the Blount County Fire Department when he was told that a man and possibly a woman were inside a burning house. Fipps, although off-duty, heard about the situation and offer assistance.
While other Blount County firefighters worked on putting out the fire, Stinnett and Fipps communicated with the dispatcher and used a thermal imaging camera to locate people inside the home. They found a man and brought him to safety and then continued searching for the woman until they were notified she was no longer in the house.
Because they worked together to save a life, Stinnett and Fipps are Blount County Firefighter heroes.
Robin McDaniel - Red Cross Community Service Award
Robin McDaniel serve her community by giving cooking lesson to young men at Crossroads. Crossroads is a facility which provides homeless young men a place to stay while getting on their feet and learning to become independent.
Well known for her cooking expertise because of her food column in Blount Today, McDaniel was approached by a Crossroads board member and asked to teach cooking skills and basic nutrition. Since the fall of 2009, McDaniel has been working with the young men. She has taught them to prepare basic staples and has also taught the young men basic table etiquette and how to set a table.
When McDaniel learned the young men didn’t have plans for Thanksgiving, she asked friends and family to help her prepare a meal for them. Because of her dedication to sharing her skills and passion for cooking with the young men of Crossroads, Robin McDaniel is a Blount County Community Impact Hero.
Scott Alley - Betty Proffitt Hale Community Service Award
Scott Alley makes his community a safer and better place to live every single day through his work as a red cross volunteer and CPR and First Aid instructor. In 2009, Alley taught more than 50 CPR and/or First Aid courses to more than 400 individuals. Each course takes three to four hours, putting his number of volunteer hours for 2009 in the hundreds. For making his community a safer place to live, Scott Alley is the recipient of the 2010 Betty Proffitt Hale Community Impact Award.
Luis Gonzalez - Youth Good Samaritan Award
Luis Gonzalez is a sophomore at William Blount High School. Recently elected as the youth representative to the Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross board of directors, he is active in numerous community and school activities, including working with Red Cross disaster relief teams.
For his commitment to community and giving back , Luis Gonzalez is a Blount County hero.
David Shelton - Adult Good Samaritan Award
David Shelton was driving home from work on Jan. 30 when he got to the bridge between the Knox and Blount county lines on Pellissippi Parkway and saw a thin layer of frost on the road just before a car in front of him fishtailed. It turned sideways in front of him just before he hit it. Shelton pulled into the emergency lane and talked to the driver, 19-year-old Ashley Reisser and her friends. As he was calling 911 he heard the girls screaming and saw a car lose control and slam into Reisser.
Shelton ran to help her and realized she was stuck under the car that had hit her. Suddenly another car lost control and hit Shelton. Despite receiving serious blows to his back and knee, he continued moving toward Reisser to keep the driver from moving the car and further harming her. Both were transported to University of Tennessee Medical Center. By risking his own life to save another, David Shelton is a 2010 Blount County hero.