A Jefferson City boy who raised money for hurricane relief, a California volunteer firefighter who spends her free time teaching children fire safety and two Crawford County law enforcement officers were among this year's award recipients during the annual American Red Cross Central and Northern Missouri Heroes Dinner.
At 6, Hudson Patrick seized Jefferson City's attention when he raised $1,076 for hurricane victims by operating a lemonade stand. A Jefferson City resident who recently moved from Houston, Vanessa Robertson Gray matched Hudson's contribution to the relief effort, so he was able to donate $2,152 to the J.J. Watts Hurricane Relief fund.
Hudson received the Red Cross' Good Samaritan Youth Award on Wednesday during a dinner and fundraiser at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.
More than 300 people attended the event, which is the local Red Cross chapter's signature fundraising event.
Organizers of the dinner played recorded videos of recipients discussing their work.
In his recording, Hudson said he made the lemonade because he wanted to help people in Houston who lost their homes, cars and pets.
"I helped my dad make the lemonade," Hudson said. "On the first day, I got pink lemonade. On the second day, I got pink and ordinary."
In December, Hudson undertook another philanthropic effort. He set up a hot chocolate stand in the Hy-Vee parking lot. Instead of asking for cash donations, he asked for toys that were donated to Toys for Tots and food items for local food pantries.
Sara Turner, a California Rural volunteer firefighter for the past 12 years, has stood with people as they face some of their lowest moments. She's worked at fires where people lost their homes or loved ones.
She received the Firefighter Award.
Turner feels it's necessary that she educate children on fire safety. She comes by her care for children naturally and is the assistant director of St. Paul's Child Care Center in California, she said.
"I follow in the footsteps of my father, Wayne Hagemeyer, who's been on the fire department for about 51 years," Turner said. "I love to tell people the importance of fire safety, and tell children of fire safety."
She said an incident in which a child died in a fire she fought really stuck with her. She goes to schools and playschools in rural Missouri and teaches children the importance of asking for or yelling for help.
"My parents taught me that we should help people," Turner said. "Having kids come up and give me a hug if I've saved — maybe their teddy bear, or I've found something that they love — I'm that shoulder that they can cry on."
Dave Griffith, who resigned as director of the Heart of Missouri Red Cross chapter in November, received a special Heart of a Hero Award before the featured ceremonies began.
"This is dangerous — to put a microphone in front of my face," he quipped.
However, he added, the work being done in communities was noteworthy.
"Recognizing people and heroes in our midst who do extraordinary things in extraordinary time — you could ask each and every one of them and they would not consider themselves a hero," Griffith said. "I'm honored to be able to receive this."
Jimmy Maloney received an award as the Emergency Medical Assistance Award. Maloney and another rescue member responded June 30 to a report of a man trapped in a flooded pickup. the rescuers swam to the pickup, retrieved the man and took him to higher ground.
Ashley Cruse, a nurse at the University of Missouri Women's and Children's Hospital, assisted with the care of a baby named Grayden, delivered by emergency Cesarean section when his heart dramatically slowed. Grayden underwent numerous surgeries and was transferred to a St. Louis hospital. A couple of years later, when he was transferred back, Cruse remembered that she intended to give him a stuffed animal and did so. The boy's family praised Cruse for treating their son like her own.
The Good Samaritan Adult Hero award recipient was Jason Schlup, who while running late for work came upon a horrific traffic collision on Missouri 87. Schlup climbed into a car in which a woman whom he knew was pinned. He stayed with the woman until she was cut from the car and flown to a hospital.
Two Highway Patrol officers received the Law Enforcement Award. On April 30, Sgt. Kurt Merseal and Cpl. Bryan Silverthorn were dispatched to a water rescue on the Meramec River in Crawford County. They were able to pull two young women and a man from the swollen river.
Operation Bugle Boy received the Community Impact Award for its work in support and honor of veterans, troops, first responders and law enforcement.
Missouri National Guard Specialist Christian Collins and Sgt. Jeff Collins Missouri National Guard (retired) were on vacation together when they witnessed a car crash in which a male driver was ejected from his car. Neither the driver nor any of his five children in the car had been wearing seat belts. The two servicemen administered medical aid to the victims and stayed on the scene until emergency personnel arrived. They received the Military Award.