Red Cross to honor local heroes
- A dozen York County residents will be recognized as heroes by the Red Cross in November.
- The heroes include local firefighters, police officers, paramedics and two high school seniors.
A York Township fire chief who received national acclaim for pulling a driver out of his burning vehicle is one of 16 regional heroes to be honored by the Red Cross of South Central Pennsylvania.
The regional chapter, which covers York, Adams, Franklin and Fulton counties, will host its 14th Annual Spirit of the Hero Awards Breakfast on Nov. 17 to pay tribute to the recipients’ selfless acts that improve communities and show that “not all heroes wear capes,” according to a release from the Red Cross.
One of the local heroes being honored is York Township Fire Chief Nate Tracey.
On the morning of Dec. 28, 2015, Tracey responded to a car crash in the 100 block of Indian Rock Dam Road. A small gray sedan had struck a pole, and the back of the car was on fire. With the driver nowhere in sight, Tracey knew the man was still inside.
“I pretty much realized, in a matter of seconds, if there was anybody involved in that crash, they were still in the car,” Tracey told The York Dispatch at the time.
Tracey raced to the burning car and pulled the driver out of the vehicle and out of danger. The rescue was caught on video and posted to the department’s Facebook page. Now, 10 months later, the video has close to 1 million views.
While he and the department received some exposure for the video, Tracey said he was just doing his job.
“I just think, that’s what we’re here for,” Tracey said at the time.
Tracey will receive the firefighter award at the annual breakfast.
Honorees: Other area residents to be honored are:
• York City Firefighter Erik Swanson, Deputy Chief Chad Deardorff, White Rose paramedics Miguel Cabrera and Ted Hake and EMT Christina Sneering will be given the animal rescue award for saving two dogs during a multi-home fire in the 700 block of West Princess Street in December 2015.
Swanson took the first pet out of the home, and the other four administered oxygen using a pet resuscitation mask, according to a release from the Red Cross. York City Fire Chief David Michaels said at the time that the owner and the dogs were taken to a veterinary hospital by White Rose Ambulance.
• Northern York County Regional Police Officer Andrew Shaffer will receive the good neighbor award.
At 3:45 p.m. on July 3, an elderly man went into cardiac arrest while mowing his lawn at his Dover Township home. The heart attack was fatal, and Shaffer had to break the bad news to the man's family. Shaffer returned to the home after his 12-hour shift and finished mowing the lawn for the man's widow.
"No one told him to go and do it, and he didn't tell anyone he did it," Police Chief Mark Bentzel told The York Dispatch. "He just went and did it ... and he expected nothing in return."
The family of the deceased man subsequently sent a letter to the police department, asking for Shaffer to be recognized. Shaffer told the chief he did not do it to be recognized.
"As I told Officer Shaffer and others, the greatest gift anyone can give to another person is something they give expecting nothing in return," the chief said.
• Timothy Himes also will receive the good neighbor award for performing CPR in an attempt to revive a man who had overdosed behind his wife’s office building in North York in June, according to the release.
After paramedics administered Narcan to the man, along with sustained CPR, the man was revived in an ambulance on the scene.
“Thank God I learned CPR through the American Red Cross,” Himes said after the ordeal, according to the release.
• Four staff members at SpiriTrust Lutheran retirement village in Hanover will be honored for saving the life of an elderly patient who began bleeding severely during her rehab after bypass surgery, according to the release.
Frank Roloson, Jess Miller, Shannon Shutika and Shannon Bair will receive the medical award from the Red Cross.
“Their quick-thinking response to a potentially fatal situation bought the woman valuable time, time that was needed to get her the emergency medical care that ultimately saved her life,” the organization said in the release.
Two New Oxford High School seniors also will receive awards at the Red Cross breakfast.
• Michael Ryan Jr. will be given the community impact award for creating an app to discourage distracted driving. The application, known as “Dave,” was a product of Ryan’s tragic loss in 2011, when five of his friends were killed in a crash along Route 94.
The deaths led Ryan to use more than $7,000 of his personal savings — only a portion of the total funds used — to launch “Dave.” The remainder was financed by Ryan’s parents.
“Spending the money was worth it because it’s going toward something that’s good for the community,” Ryan told The York Dispatch in June.
The app blocks all notifications, text messages and incoming calls when it is turned on. A feature allows three emergency numbers to still come through when the app is activated.
• Emmah Bowers will be given the youth Good Samaritan award for creating First Position, "a distinctive, free dance program designed to inspire special-needs children in trying something new," according to the release.
More than 20 students participated in the program from June through August, learning ballet, jazz and contemporary dance techniques for a special showcase at the end of the summer to show off their new skills.
"Bowers shows us all that people can be a part of something great if they are given the support they need to overcome the obstacles that stand in their way," the Red Cross said in the release.
• David Riley, owner of Waynesboro's Antietam Pharmacy, will pick up the adult Good Samaritan award for saving his employees during an armed robbery in June. Sensing imminent danger for himself and his employees, Riley shot the would-be robber, ending the ordeal before police could arrive.
His "ability to take concise action during an extremely stressful and potentially deadly situation" made it possible for his employees to go home unharmed, according to the release.
• Dog TAGS President John Salvadia will receive the Red Cross military award for his "leadership, fundraising ability and training acumen," which has enabled the nonprofit organization to serve as a vital resource for veterans in the region, according to the release.
Salvadia, a U.S. Air Force veteran and retired Harrisburg Police corporal, leads the Mechanicsburg organization's efforts to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma through training their own service dogs.