York-area heroes honored by American Red Cross
Fourteen York County residents received awards at the American Red Cross' annual Heroes Breakfast on Thursday.
Police officers, firefighters and a doctor were among those honored Thursday morning as heroes by the American Red Cross, but it was a "good Samaritan" who received the only standing ovation of the program.
David Dranbauer, a 25-year-old Hanover resident who previously served four years in the Marine Corps, helped police catch an arsonist earlier this year by using skills he'd been honing since beginning martial arts training as a 4-year-old.
An arsonist had already set eight fires in Hanover and Penn Township when Dranbauer noticed a man enter a garage near his home at around 11 a.m. and run away a short time later. Visible smoke was coming from the garage, and Dranbauer stopped the man and asked him what he'd done.
"He swung at me, and I choked him out and took him to ground," Dranbauer said in a video shown before he accepted his award.
Dranbauer, who now works in construction, said a neighbor must have called the police because officers showed up about five minutes later to arrest the man he still had pinned to the ground.
Dranbauer said he was not expecting to receive a standing ovation after receiving the good Samaritan award, but he appreciated it.
Thirteen other York County residents were honored at the south-central Pennsylvania chapter's annual Heroes Awards Breakfast:
— Capt. David Bowman, Capt. William Sleeger and firefighters Kenneth Swartz, Kevin Westover, Joseph Portner, Shawn Firestone and Donald Newcomer, of the York City Fire Department received the Firefighter award. The group responded to a shooting near their fire hall, rendering first aid to two gunshot victims who ultimately survived.
— Officers Michael Gessner and Steve Gebhart of the Penn Township Police Department received one of two Law Enforcement awards. The pair helped remove an unconscious man from a burning apartment building. After helping the man to safety, Gebhart rendered first aid until paramedics arrived and Gessner ran back into the building to make sure no one else was inside.
— Jackie Bortner received the Community Impact award for her work with William Penn Senior High School. Bortner helped organize "Hoodies for Holidays" at William Penn, where about 1,200 students were given school hoodies, the only gift some received for the holidays. She has since expanded on her initial work to create a school resource room, which provides needy students with clothing and food.
— Dr. Sonam Ruit, of Martin Foot and Ankle, received the Medical award. Ruit, a Nepal native, organized a collection of medical and surgical supplies to donate to Nepal after a massive earthquake left the country in disrepair. Ruit traveled to Nepal in June to deliver the items and saw patients and performed surgeries while he was there.
— Ke-Shon Riley received the Good Neighbor award for his work with York County's Salvation Army After School Program. Riley started attending the program when he was 11 years old and volunteered there th
rough his high school years. He's now in his first year as a staff member with the program, helping provide a safe and fun environment for at-risk youth.
— Lane Reever, of Reever Farm in Thomasville, received the Animal award. Reever became close with a pony named Buddy on his trainer's farm. He worked to raise money after he learned Buddy had eye cancer and his trainer wasn't able to afford the necessary surgery. Buddy eventually went up for auction and was purchased by Deb Dempsey of Izzy's Love Horse and Rescue after she spoke with Reever about the situation. Reever then raised the necessary money for the surgery and Buddy, the one-eyed pony, lives on Reever Farm.
- Reach David Weissman at email@example.com.