TROY – The Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross held its annual Holiday Volunteer Family Dinner celebration on Dec. 3.
More than 100 people gathered at the Troy office to honor NMVO volunteers for their hours of service and dedication to the American Red Cross.
Receiving special recognition, the Partners Saving Lives Award, were members of the Springfield and Piqua fire departments along with Upper Valley Career School and the Help Me Grow Program for their life-saving roles in two house fires.
On May 6, 2017, volunteers from Upper Valley Career Center and the Red Cross knocked on doors in a Piqua neighborhood, spreading the word about how smoke alarms save lives.
On that morning, five smoke alarms, provided free by the Red Cross and a combination carbon-monoxide detector, provided by the Piqua Fire Department, were installed in the home of Amanda Keaser. On May 8, the Keaser family, including their 2-year-old daughter, was awoken by the piercing sound of the CO2 alarm. They exited the home and called 911. Due to the alarm and the quick actions of the family, all lives were saved.
Assistant Chief Lee Adams of the Piqua Fire Department accepted the award on behalf of his department. Jeff Bertke was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the Upper Valley Career School.
On March 28, Red Cross volunteers installed smoke alarms in the Springfield home of Rebecca Fahl, 21. Fahl, the mother of three small children, had learned of the Red Cross Home Fire campaign – a smoke alarm installation and home fire safety education program – through the Clark County Help Me Grow program.
When a fire broke out in her home on June 19, Fahl followed the fire safety education plan generated for her by the Red Cross volunteers when they installed her smoke alarms. As a result, Fahl got her family of seven out of her burning home and made sure everyone stayed out while they waited for the fire department.
Assistant Chief Matthew Smith of the Springfield Fire Department accepted the award on behalf of the Springfield Fire Department. The Help Me Grow Program was not in attendance, and its award was delivered later in the week.
Also, honored was Loretta Johanson, 83, for her 70 years of Red Cross volunteer service. Johanson started as a Red Cross candy striper at First Presbyterian Hospital in New York; today she is the Red Cross volunteer coordinator at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Johanson runs the Red Cross office at Wright-Patt located in room BK-K2 in the Medical Center. She’s responsible for volunteer intake and assignments, tracking volunteer hours and participation, and award nominations. Johanson leads a group of volunteers who devote 1,000 hours per month to the Red Cross.
Johanson is one of close to 250 Red Cross volunteers who serve the counties of Champaign, Clark, Darke, Logan, Miami and Shelby, which make up the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter.
“Without the deliberate dedication of our volunteers, we would never be able to touch the thousands of lives that we reach every year,” Executive Director Lynne Gump said.