About 600 people gathered at TRAC on Thursday to see community heroes honored for their selflessness and service to the Tri-Cities in 2010.
It was the ninth year for the Real Heroes Breakfast, organized by the Benton Franklin Chapter of the American Red Cross, and sponsored by numerous community organizations and businesses.
Awards were given to 31 people in 10 categories.
-- Adult Good Samaritan: Clarence Zimmer was recognized for opening his home to Craig Ludwig, a homeless Army veteran who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was fighting an infection when Zimmer found him at the Union Gospel Mission in Pasco. The two became best friends and were featured in a front page article in the Herald on Nov. 28.
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-- Medical: Scott Cram, Cynthia Taylor and Shawn Miller shared an award for working together to save a Pasco man who had a heart attack while in the Franklin County jail. Cram and Taylor are corrections officers at the jail and spotted the 47-year-old inmate slumped forward and unconscious. They started CPR while Miller, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, shocked the man with a defibrillator. Cram and Taylor were given a "lifesaving commendation" by Franklin County Sheriff Richard Lathim in September.
-- Community Organization: Spencer Oland was recognized for starting the nonprofit Generation of Warriors Project, encouraging veterans to cross generational boundaries to help each other deal with post-traumatic stress and other disorders related to their military service. Oland himself suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his service in Vietnam.
-- Work Place Safety: Erica Zapien, Connie Garcia, Lorna Mahoney, Rob Wiskerchen and Julian Trinidad of Five Reser's Fine Food, and Franklin County Dispatch Supervisor Mark Torrescano received this award for using CPR to save a Five Reser's employee whom Zapien found unconscious on the floor. Wiskerchen called 911 and relayed CPR instructions given by Torrescano to Mahoney, Trinidad and Garcia, who kept CPR going until paramedics could arrive. The employee fully recovered after being taken to the hospital.
-- Law Enforcement: Kennewick police Detective Rick Runge was recognized for solving the 1982 murder of a young Kennewick woman in her home almost 30 years after the crime was committed. Runge used DNA and detective work to find and arrest Jack Welch, who had been suspected of the crime in 1982 but never was arrested because police at the time lacked sufficient evidence. Welch ultimately was deemed not competent to stand trial because of a 1999 fall that left him with irreversible brain damage.
-- Fire Rescue: Franklin Fire District 4 Chief Chet Baeurmeister of Basin City was posthumously recognized for the heroism that led to his death while fighting a fire on June 23, 2010. He was battling a blaze in Adams County when the fire vehicle he was in overturned and he was killed.
-- Spirit of the Red Cross: Lisa Gallegos, Kim Frentzen, Brian Sandy, Dr. Lee Ostler and Travis Hartliep were recognized for their work organizing the 12 Days of Giving blood drives during the 2010 holiday season. The Red Cross collected more than 500 units of blood during the 12-day event.
-- 911 Rescue: Matt Felton and Dan Edwards were recognized for using CPR to save an injured driver who had been thrown from his truck in a crash on a backcountry road. Edwards and Felton used their Eagle Scout training to secure the driver, keep his airway open and cover him with blankets until paramedics arrived. The driver recovered after being flown to a hospital.
-- Animal Rescue: Ron Hopkins, Scott Williams, Jeff Yerbich, Jimmy Hagans, Matthew Smith, Nick Kraft, Gary Marmes Jr., Jay Bennett and Tyson Cole received this award for working together to rescue a horse that had fallen into an abandoned cistern in Kahlotus. They brought sledge hammers, picks and other equipment to chip away an exposed rock wall and to create a ramp so the horse could walk out. The horse was scratched but otherwise unharmed.
-- Youth Good Samaritan: Christian Ille and Jared Haeg, two Young Marines, were recognized for helping a classmate who was having a seizure while on a class trip in North Bend. Ille lunged forward to catch the classmate as she slumped to the ground, and Haeg kept her airway open while a teacher called 911. They cared for her until paramedics arrived.
Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; email@example.com