Community Comes Together to Honor Local Heroes

(CHICAGO, IL) – The  American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois recognized people who demonstrated incredible courage, compassion and kindness to help both neighbors and strangers at the 2016 Annual Heroes Breakfast April 28 at the Hilton Chicago. The event brought together people of all ages and backgrounds, representing the diversity of the Red Cross community.

Recipients displayed their passion for preventing human suffering and gratitude for the opportunity to acknowledge people who are underserved and overlooked. Dr. Samer Attar of Northwestern Medicine, honored with the Global Citizenship Award, travels to war-torn Syria to provide medical care at underground hospitals. He also thanked the doctors, nurses, and countless others who join him in risking their own lives to help others.

While Dr. Attar’s service takes him to the other side of the world, other honorees, such as the Law Enforcement Hero, Officer Lourdes Nieto of the Chicago Police Department, has dedicated herself to helping young people in our own backyard. Officer Nieto is an advocate for human trafficking victims and gives these victims a voice by educating the public about these crimes in Chicago.

Lt. Hans Ziegenbein and Felix Serrano, honored with their team from Fireboat 688 of the Chicago Police Department with the Firefighter Award, expressed gratitude for the honor as well as their desire to recognize other members of the firefighting community.

Such remarkable humility was a common theme among all recipients, which included:

  • Good Samaritan (Mike Robeson)
  • Blood Services (Diane Calamaras, APN)
  • Heritage Award (David D. Hiller)
  • Community Impact (Dr. Daniel Ivankovich)
  • Law Enforcement (Officer Lourdes Nieto of the Chicago Police Department)
  • Emergency Medical Assistance (Sergeant First Class Tony Genovese & Staff Sergeant Jeremy Adkins of the Illinois National Guard)
  • Global Citizenship (Dr. Samer Attar of Northwestern Medicine)
  • Disaster Services (Lazenia Adams)
  • Firefighter (Lt. Hans Ziegenbein, Engineer Robert Bloome, Firefighter Christopher Heinz, and Firefighter/EMT Felix Serrano of the Chicago Fire Department)
  • Youth (Caley Trepac), and
  • Nurse (Darice Bohne, RN, BSN).

The extraordinary contributions these heroes have made to the community, their personal commitment to helping others, along with their incredible humility, truly exemplify the spirit of the Red Cross.

Young volunteers were also present. A group of senior and junior high school students from Geneva, Illinois included a group who work with special education students, help tutor younger students, and take action as part of Operation Snowball to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and drug use among youths.

The 2016 Heroes Breakfast was made possible thanks to the generosity of our key sponsors: Anixter, Bank of America, BMO Harris Bank, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Boeing, Mesirow Financial, Motorola Solutions, Northern Trust, Walgreens, Aon, CDW, ComEd, Grainger, ITW, NES Rentals, PwC and USG.

Story by: Jessica Hayashi, Public Affairs Volunteer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Photos by: William Biederman, Christopher Doing and Danny Diaz, Public Affairs Volunteers, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

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