Red Cross Honors Local Heroes

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CLEVELAND -- Ten local people who have shown extraordinary courage and compassion in helping others this year were honored at the 15th Annual American Red Cross “Hero” Awards of Greater Cleveland.

Two of the heroes are firefighters who risked their lives to save a young child trapped in a deadly house fire.

"We are celebrating the selfless acts of people in our community who have gone out of their way and sometimes at great risks to themselves to help others," said Mary-Alice Frank, CEO of the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region.

Two of the heroes being honored are Cleveland Division of Fire Lt. Michael Gillisie and firefighter Jim Norman.

On July 19, they responded to a fire at a house on 123rd Street in Cleveland.

When they arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames and a woman and an infant were trapped on the second floor.  That's when Gillisie and Norman jumped into action.

"When we got her down to safety, we went back upstairs and found the infant in the bedroom right away and brought her down, transferred care to EMS," said Gillisie.

Despite the recognition from the American Red Cross, Gillisie said he and firefighter Norman were just doing their jobs.

"We are trained to do that from the time we get on the job, so basically it's almost, maybe not instinctual ... well you have to think about it a little bit, that's what the citizens pay us to do,"  said Gillisie.

Neighbors who saw the fire and tried to help say firefighters deserve all the recognition they can get because they put their lives on the line to save others.

"It was so hot.  I tried to go up the back steps and I couldn't even get half way up and for them guys to go in there and do that on a regular basis, I commend them.  For real, I commend them," said James Bailey of Cleveland.

The entire list of heroes is as follows:

  • Thomas E. Collins Jr., MD FACEP
  • Dr. Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga
  • Lt. Mike Gillisie
  • Firefighter Jim Norman
  • Kathy Halloway
  • Edward Horvath
  • Ivy Puhalla
  • Edwin Robins
  • Kathy Spahn Miller
  • Dr. Vincent Tuohy
  • Rick Wilcox
  • Helen Moss


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