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Outstanding community members receive honors for heroic actions

By RACHEL MURPHY

UTICA N.Y. (WKTV) - There are certain people who put their lives on the line, risking their own safety for the sake of others. On Wednesday, those local community members were honored during the Real Heroes Breakfast award ceremony.

The event hosted by the Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley.

Organizers say many who receive the awards are everyday people. They are our friends, neighbors and colleagues.

This year, 19 individuals and one organization were honored at SUNY IT for their heroic actions. WKTV's Steve McMurray acted at the master of ceremonies for the event.

"These are really the true heroes who don't get the recognition that they deserve and that they have earned," said Julie Darling, the community executive for the American Red Cross. "Every single one of them will tell you that they don't deserve recognition, that they are not heroes and they were just doing what needed to be done. But most likely, if they hadn't taken that action, in many cases somebody would have been hurt or even a loss of lives."

Recipients can receive a nomination from anyone in the community. The Real Heroes Breakfast Committee then evaluates all of the nominations to determine who deserves to receive an award.

This year, Darling said two of the nominations were exceptionally difficult to decide who had earned the award. Both of the nominees for the Youth Good Samaritan Award had compelling stories. Committee members eventually decided both Alyssa Lynn Dahlke and Olivia LaSalle deserve the honor.

Dahlke, was just 4 years old when she found her mother Jennifer Dahlke unresponsive in bed. Alyssa Dahlke acted quickly and called for help. She called her father, Will Dahlke to retrieve her new address in order to call 911. It was because of Alyssa Dahlke's efforts and her family training that she helped to save her mother's life.

LaSalle was also recognized at the ceremony. On Thanksgiving Day, she also saved a life. When the 6-year-old was playing in her backyard she noticed her neighbor's shed was on fire. LaSalle rushed to get her mother's attention, who then called 911. According to fire officials, if LaSalle hadn't seen the flames and responded, the loss could have been much worst.

Darling said many of the recipients had similar reactions during emergency situations.

"They aren't concerned about their own safety or what's going to happen to them, she said. "You know, 'Should I or shouldn't do this?' There is no time to think. They act. They take those actions and they save lives."

All of the proceeds from the breakfast benefit the Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley, which provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

The list of all of the recipients can be found below.

Michael Cianfrocco Family Humanitarian of the Year Award
Lawrence Gilroy

Mary Haggerty Education Award
Lucas Fesko

Adult Good Samaritan Award
Dave Robinson

Animal Rescue Award
Jill Stafford

Fire Rescue Award
Utica Fire Captain Scott Ingersoll and firefighter Frederick DeCarlo

911 Dispatch Award: Oneida County 911
Theodore Achen, Joseph Baker, Brenda Dean, Melody Kalk, Joseph Moskala, Meredith Ricci, Regina Sege and Caitlin Traynor.

Kurt Wyman Law Enforcement Award
Jim Fister

Blood Services Award
Cheryl Jassak

Military Award
Waterville Area Ambulance and Fire Departments

Youth Good Samaritan Award
Alyssa Lynn Dahlke and Olivia LaSalle

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