American Red Cross honors Mohawk Valley real heroes

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The American Red Cross honored several Mohawk Valley residents for their heroic actions during the past year at the 14th annual Real Heroes Breakfast Wednesday.

The Real Heroes Breakfast, hosted by the Mohawk Valley Chapter, celebrates the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering by honoring people from throughout Oneida, Herkimer and Otsego counties who have performed heroic acts to help others in need.

Among this year’s honorees: the Oneida County Water Rescue members who aided victims of Superstorm Sandy; the 911 dispatch team that worked on the frantic day of the Herkimer shootings; and a 9-year-old boy who ran through snow for help when his house was on fire.

Here’s the list of awards and honorees:

● Michael Cianfrocco Family Humanitarian of the Year Award (presented by the Carbone family): Symeon Tsoupelis. The owner of Symeon’s Restaurant in Yorkville, Tsoupelis has donated his time, food and money to various humanitarian organizations, including the Regional Cancer Center at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, United Way, and American Red Cross.

● Adult Good Samaritan Award: David Kalk. Kalk was driving in the Village of Camden in December when he noticed a house on fire. He called 911 – the dispatcher who answered the call was his mother – and then helped a woman and her 9-month-old child escape the burning home.

● Animal Rescue Award: Debra Estey. A longtime volunteer for HALO (Helping Animals Live Organization), Estey, of Herkimer, raises funds for the non-profit organization and helps maintain its home for stray and abandoned cats.

● Blood Donor Award: William Sadlon. Sadlon, of Little Falls, has in his lifetime donated 208 units of blood, or about 26 gallons, which is enough to save more than 630 lives.

● Mary Haggerty Education Award: Debbie Nutty. Nutty, of Whitesboro, is a cancer survivor who returned this past November for her 17th year as a kindergarten teacher at Deerfield Elementary School.

● Fire Rescue Award: Oneida County Water Rescue. When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast this past October, several members of the Water Rescue team answered the statewide call for mutual aid to New York City and Long Island to evacuate and rescue residents.

● Good Neighbor Award: Scott Beach. On Christmas Eve, Beach was on his way to work when he noticed flames coming from a house in Herkimer. Beach, of Herkimer, banged on the front door, warning a family with three children who were unaware their home was on fire.

● Kurt Wyman Law Enforcement Award: New York State Police Trooper Mark Hale and Oneida County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Taylor. Last June, Hale, of Lee Center, and Taylor, of New York Mills, rescued a man whose house in Rome was set on fire by an arsonist.

● Military Award: Master Sgt. James Mauthe. A member of the New York Air National Guard and a volunteer firefighter in the Village of Clinton, Master Sgt. Mauthe plays a vital role in the homeland defense of our country and saves lives as a first responder to emergency calls.

● Youth Good Samaritan Award: Jesse Richard. This past January, when his house was on fire in Herkimer and his parents asked him to get help, 9-year-old Jesse ran through the dark and snow and flagged down a snow plow driver who called 911.

● 911 Dispatch Award: Susan Crimmins, Natalia Rogers, Susan VanOlst, Kelly Wares. On the day of the shooting incidents in Herkimer, dispatchers Rogers, VanOlst and Wares and supervisor Crimmins remained calm and professional as they fielded an enormous amount of calls and encountered high emotion levels while dealing with incidents at four different locations.

For more information about the 2013 Real Heroes Breakfast or to arrange an interview with an honoree or Red Cross official, contact Matt Michael, Chief Communications Officer, at (315) 234-2220 or

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