SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - A Westfield fire captain who saved the life of a fellow firefighter and a man who pulled a wounded state trooper out of harm's way in Chicopee are two of the people who will be honored later this month as Pioneer Valley Red Cross Hometown Heroes.
On the Morning of March 28, 7 hometown heroes, including the slain Springfield Police officer Kevin Ambrose, will be saluted at the Mass Mutual Center.
It'll be the 11th annual Hometown Heroes event. Pioneer Valley Red Cross Executive Director Rick Lee told 22News that he's proud it goes on year after year.
"I think we all have a thirst for good news, especially where people doing something for no self benefit other than helping another person in need," Lee said.
Matt Hollander, Red Cross Board member and Mass Mutual Center Manager, said he would be impressed by the emotional impact of the heroes breakfast.
"This is the most uplifting event that we get to enjoy. It's a chance for us to take a look at our neighbors; what amazing things they're doing," Hollander said.
The year's seven recipients were chosen from nearly 30 nominees; an agonizing process according to Sarah Corrigan, the head of the selection committee.
"You want that cross-section of opinion on what's heroic, what's touching, what will people think is appropriate for this type of event," Corrigan said.
22News Reporter Sy Becker is proud once again to co-host the heroes breakfast and relate each of the inspiring stories that have made each of the dozens of recipients this year and down through the years, truly hometown heroes.
This year's honorees are:
- Kevin Ambrose (posthumously), Veteran Springfield police officer killed in the line of duty during a domestic disturbance between a woman and her estranged boyfriend.
- Rebecca Boutin, Westfield Fire Captain who saved the life of a fellow firefighter who was trapped inside a burning, smoke-filled building.
- Ward Hamilton of Enfield, Connecticut, who pulled wounded State Trooper John Vazquez to safety amid an armed standoff in Chicopee.
- George Hamilton of Amherst, 13 year-old who saved his mother through CPR; which he learned through the NBC sitcom "The Office."
- Stephanie O'Brien of Chicopee, a front desk clerk at the Homewood Suites hotel, who came to the aid of a housekeeping inspector who fell while having a seizure and hit her head on a concrete flower container.
- Brent Alexander of West Springfield, crew chief for Columbia Gas, had advised his co-workers during a downtown Springfield gas leak to take cover behind his heavy crew truck. The workers took shelter, and were able to survive the ensuing explosion.
- Students and alumni of Palmer High School, who have hosted one of the largest Red Cross blood collection events for over 30 years, which resulted in the collection of 6,000 units of blood.