Area heroes warrant praise

People whose positive actions go far beyond the ordinary warrant particular praise. That’s why the American Red Cross launched what has become an annual tribute to individuals who accomplish the remarkable.

At the Heroes of the Heartland event, held Thursday at Willow Ridge Restaurant and Golf Course, six individuals were singled out for recognition as area heroes. Nearly 100 people attended this combination recognition luncheon for the honorees and fundraiser for the American Red Cross, Greater Northwest Iowa Area.

This year’s honorees are:

Mark Anderson,

Dr. Lee Berryhill,

Meredith Berryhill,

Jeff Burke,

Mark Gargano and

Neil Morenz.

Troopers Mark Anderson and Neil Morenz were recognized for outstanding work as highly trained and skilled traffic accident investigators for the Iowa State Patrol.

Dr. Lee Berryhill and Meredith Berryhill were singled out for their positive efforts to make the quality of life for residents of Friendship Haven outstanding.

Jeff Burke, a volunteer firefighter and first responder affiliated with the Barnum Fire Department, put himself at risk and was seriously injured in the course of saving the life of a patient being readied for medical transport.

Mark Gargano, a security officer at Trinity Regional Medical Center, provided extraordinarily caring assistance to a family needing help after a traffic accident.

Full details of each awardee’s selfless contributions were published in a special supplement included in Thursday’s edition of The Messenger.

At the Heroes of the Heartland event in 2010, Cori Kuhn-Coleman, who was then chair of the Brushy Creek chapter of the American Red Cross board of directors, stressed that the individuals honored responded affirmatively to a need for action.

“These … individuals could have ignored the need,” Kuhn-Coleman said. “Instead, they put their needs aside to help the situation.”

That strikes us as an excellent definition of a “hero.”

“We recognize the heroes of everyday,” said Kara Kelly, regional communications officer for the American Red Cross, Greater Northwest Iowa Area. “Sometimes we honor lifesaving efforts and others are dedicated to their communities, whether that be through volunteering or something like participation in community theater. We look for people who have gone above and beyond to be extraordinary people.”

The Messenger congratulates the award recipients and applauds the Red Cross for sponsoring this excellent awards program.