The American Red Cross Greater Idaho Chapter held its annual Hometown Heroes luncheon May 23 at Boise’s Riverside Hotel. The event recognizes heroes from the Treasure Valley area who have helped save lives in the past year. Here is a list of the winners and the awards they won:
FIRE SAFETY HERO
Boise firefighters Doug Cooper, Greg Briggs, Hyrum Wilson, Ryan Berkheiser, Seth Huskinson, Darren Layne, Dereck Bohan and Brian Ashton received this award as a result of their deployment to California in December to help firefighters there battle cataclysmic wildfires. Their deployment lasted Dec. 7 through Dec. 23.
LAW ENFORCEMENT HERO
Boise police officers Matt Hudson, Anthony Coils, Chance Feldner, Harry Maalouf, Dan Martinez, and Michaelle Havens received this award for their actions on the night of May 13, 2017. The officers were the first to respond to a burning apartment complex near the intersection of Camas and Orchard Boulevard in Boise. The officers saved the lives of multiple children and their babysitter trapped in the second story of the burning building, as well as that of a disabled man on the building’s first floor.
Linda Dulski, a nurse at St. Luke’s Meridian recovery room, received this award for saving the life of 43-year-old Ted Van Lunen. Van Lunen was involved in a motorcycle crash on Interstate 84 and injured his head, neck, back, ribs, arms and legs. Dulski was passing by at the time of the crash and helped keep Van Lunen’s airway open for 20 minutes while first responders arrived and took him to the hospital.
The American Red Cross presented this award to Royal D. Fry, a member of the Idaho Air National Guard. On Aug. 4, 2017, while on vacation in Osaka, Japan, Fry found a woman in a pool of blood, screaming. The woman had been stabbed with a large bread knife. He used a towel to staunch the flow of blood for five minutes while first-responders arrive and took her to the hospital.
Omarion Wright, 12, of Caldwell, received this award for his actions on the morning of Oct. 31, 2017. That was the morning his apartment caught fire. Omarion first woke his grandmother, then he called 911. After that, instead of preserving his own belongings, he rushed door-to-door to wake up other residents and let them know about the fire. They escaped likely as a result of his efforts.
ANIMAL RESCUE HERO
The Animals In Distress Association consists of a small group of volunteers who focus on rescuing wildlife in the Boise area. The organization as a whole received this award. Over the past year, they have rescue an array of animals, including a coyote caught in a steel-jaw leg trap and a racoon trapped in a wire snare.
WATER SAFETY RESCUE
Three members of the Boise Fire Department’s dive team — Jerrod Wong, Mike Zolin and Chad Tiffany — received this award for their rescue of a young man in the early morning hours of April 23. The man had jumped into a river to swim with his girlfriend, but lost control in the strong water and was swept almost 400 feet downstream. The dive team members, after two attempts, were able to pull him from the water and save his life.
BLOOD DONOR HERO
The Caldwell Community Blood Drive Committee received this award for collecting more than 300 units of blood every year. In addition to that, they host a Christmas Eve blood drive which routinely collects 95 to 100 units of blood every year. Since 1985, the group has collected 13,924 units of blood and helped 41,772 people.
SPIRIT OF THE RED CROSS HERO
Boise father and son Doug Cooper and Austin Cooper received this award after they saved a middle-aged man whose heart stopped as he drove on State Street. The man’s car stopped, and traffic slowed to a standstill behind him. Doug and 19-year-old Austin were in the car behind the man. They stepped outside, rushed to the man’s car, and began to perform CPR on him in the middle of the road until first responders arrived.
EVERY DAY HERO
The American Red Cross presented this award to Boise firefighter Chad Tiffany, who in fall 2017 learned he was a match for a patient who needed a bone marrow transplant. He traveled to Washington, D.C., for the procedure. The recipient is a 57-year-old woman with acute myelogenous leukemia, and although he will not be able to contact her for a year after the procedure, he has been told it went well.