Red Cross honors its hometown heroes

Seven recognized at ceremony Thursday

By Dean Shipley

1 months 2 days 12 hours ago |208 Views | | | Email | Print

Find a need and serve to fill it.

The message was stated repeatedly Thursday morning during the American Red Cross Hometown Heroes Breakfast. The Madison County-area chapter honored those volunteers who served without seeking any honor, but were recognized nonetheless.

Alice Kennedy, the adult hero, was blessed with parents who served their community. She is a living legacy to their dedication to community service as she works with senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Lucas and Jolinda Gutierrez said they were called to serve “and share life with those around us.” They encouraged others to “look around and find a place to serve.” They were the recipients of the Board of Directors award.

In nominating recently retired teacher Sue Hostetler, Beth Pothast saw in her nominee a person who “believed in trusting God and using his gifts.”

In accepting one of two education hero awards, Hostetler said God had given her opportunities to serve and challenged everyone in the room to find a place to serve.

Diane Self is an educator who took special interest in a child beset with a serious challenge: cancer. Self helped Emily Davis through her school work while she battled a life-threatening disease.

Davis said during the physical challenge Self’s help gave her a greater appreciation of the learning process.

“You could say I was Self-educated,” Emily said with a wry smile.

Self said teaching was her passion.

“We did what our passion led us to do,” she said in accepting the second education hero award.

Loretta Weimer received the lifetime achievement hero award. Being a woman in a family with a history of service in the U.S. Navy was no deterrent. She became a NAVY WAVE and served during World War II. She obtained a pilot’s license in 1940.

In her remarks, Weimer said flying was one of the greatest achievements of her life.

She married a Navy pilot, Max Weimer, who served as auditor of Madison County for 23 years. Their two sons also became Naval officers.

She has taught, worked for the welfare department and supported other community projects.

Brenda McNeal is one of those women who works quietly, efficiently behind the scenes so the “scenes” come off as they should at Madison County Hospital.

With her innate talent for helping people, she assists not only employees with needs, but also, through the free clinic helps patients get the life-saving medications that are prescribed for them.

Katie Botorrf, Red Cross Territory Manager, called the day’s event another success.

“I’m always in awe of our heroes,” she said.

She encouraged members of the public with someone special in mind to submit a nomination for a local hero throughout the year.

Nominations may be emailed to

Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1617 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.


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