Real Heroes to be honored at Red Cross breakfast

Five people from Carson, Lyon and Douglas counties are among 51 nominated for the Red Cross Real Hero recognition to be awarded during a banquet Thursday.

The Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast takes place each March to honor local heroes, those ordinary citizens who have shown extraordinary courage by responding with bravery during an emergency situation or by exemplifying compassion and generosity toward others.

The eighth annual event will take place from 7:30-

9 a.m. Thursday at Harrah's in downtown Reno. The public is invited to attend and tickets are $35 per person.

All proceeds will be used to provide emergency disaster assistance, fund community lifesaving CPR and First Aid skills and provide support to the armed forces.

Hero awards will be given in the following categories: Adult Community, Animal, Firefighter, Law Enforcement, Medical, Military, Unsung and Youth.

Among the nominees are:

• East Fork Fire & Paramedic District Firefighter Mike Hackler, of Gardnerville, was nominated as a Firefighter Hero by Meshelle Kesteloot for his part in an incident in Gardnerville where a fire captain nearly slipped from a roof during a blaze.

"Mike heard Capt. (Walt) Kesteloot's cry for help and without hesitation, pulled Capt. Kesteloot back to sturdy footing. Without any consideration of his own safety, Mike saved the life of a fellow firefighter. His bravery and courage is obvious even in the most dangerous situations."

• Douglas County Search and Rescue Volunteer Shaun Thomas was nominated by Deputy Teresa Duffy in the Adult Community Hero category for his actions during a snowstorm.

"In addition to a huge snow storm, there had been a head-on collision on Kingsbury Grade, which shut down the highway, and a major structure fire. Safety restrictions were made to keep the area as safe as possible, but in the midst of the crisis, Shaun saw another emergency - a man, caught by the storm in a broken down vehicle, was suffering from hypothermia. Shaun recognized the man's critical state, provided immediate care and brought him to safety, saving the man's life. The services Shaun gives to the community allow the Reno/Tahoe area to become a safer environment and Shaun's ability to think clearly under pressure, combined with his brave personality, truly makes him a hero."

• DeeDee Foremaster of Carson City was nominated by Terri Thomas as an Unsung Hero for her work at a Carson City shelter for the homeless.

"DeeDee devotes her time to help homeless people turn their lives around. She is the director of Do Drop In, a day center for the homeless and mentally ill. Do Drop In offers information on jobs, housing and benefits. In the center the homeless can relax and escape harsh weather conditions. DeeDee selflessly puts all of her effort and money into changing people's lives for the better by giving back to the community and assisting homeless people to get their lives back on track."

• Shelly Egbert of Fernley was nominated by Vita Hoberg, Shannon Wilkinson and Karen Johnson for the creation of House Calls, a nonprofit organization which aids elderly and disabled people with medical conditions.

"As founder of House Calls, Shelly's ultimate goal is ensure elderly people are taken care of. Shelly provides each of her 200 clients with reassurance calls, reminder calls, emergency kits, treats, holiday gifts and attention. Shelly makes personal sacrifices to assure the elderly are treated with dignity and care. By giving all she has and never seeking anything in return, Shelly is a true hero to many in the community."

• Jessica Vega of Douglas County was nominated by Alana Ladd-Ross as a Youth Hero.

"Jessica was a healthy energetic high school soccer player when she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The paralysis caused by the syndrome was quickly working its way from her extremities toward her vital organs. Doctors informed her mother, Rhonda, that Jessica would need a large dose of Intravenous Gamma globulin (IVIG). This rare medication takes more than 100 blood donors to make the 55 units of IVIG Jessica needed to save her life. The treatment was started and Jessica and her mother started talking right then about how important it is for them to give back. It took 13 weeks for Jessica to even be able to move one toe. She had to learn to walk, brush her hair and even brush her teeth. Jessica is an inspiration to all of us.

When Jessica turned 17, she started donating blood making good on her vow to give back to the community. She and her mother both serve as spokespersons for United Blood Services and unofficial recruiters for new donors. She is a bright light of energy, and an inspiration to any one who knows her."


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