American Red Cross honors local heroes who helped save lives - East Idaho News

American Red Cross honors local heroes who helped save lives

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IDAHO FALLS — The Red Cross of Greater Idaho honored heroes from across Eastern Idaho and beyond Thursday who acted courageously during an emergency and helped save the life of another.

The sixth annual Real Heroes award luncheon was held at Melaleuca Global Headquarters with the Red Cross celebrating heroes from Idaho Falls, Pocatello, St. Anthony and Twin Falls. Some were everyday citizens while others were men and women in uniform, such as police officers and firefighters.

Thursday’s Red Cross Real Heroes award recipients included:

  • Dr. Nicholas Pearson and Enid Jacobson — For rescuing and reviving an 18-month-old drowning at a Rexburg water park.
  • Craig Lathen; Kimberly Police Sgt. Sjuni Bunderson; Kimberly Police Officer Austin Wells; and Rock Creek Fire Department firefighters Gary Sabin and Tim Daniels — For saving a Pocatello woman who went into cardiac arrest while driving down I-84 with her daughter and two granddaughters.
  • Jacob Thornquest – For rescuing a man whose kayak capsized near Shoshone Falls. He also helped pull the man’s dog to safety.
  • Pocatello Police Officer Tyler Anderson and dispatcher Diana Rich – For working together to save a 65-year-old man who was having a heart attack.
  • Dave Wright and Richard Jensen of Friends Furever Animal Rescue – For helping a Great Pyrenees off a steep cliff in rural Idaho.
  • Lauren Terry – For performing the Heimlich Maneuver on her 4-year-old niece who was choking on a piece of meat. Lauren is just 13.
  • Donna Howard – For organizing Red Cross blood drives every four months since 2013 in the St. Anthony area and helping keep hospital shelves stocked with lifesaving blood.

Students, teachers and staff at the Alturas International Academy in Idaho Falls received the Spirit of the Red Cross award for organizing a school carnival to raise money for Hurricane Dorian relief. In November, they presented the Red Cross with a check worth $4,100.

Thursday’s Red Cross event also included a tribute to the nine members of the Hansen family who died in a plane crash in South Dakota in November following a family hunting trip. Through the Kyäni Caring Hands Foundation, the Hansen family has a long legacy of generosity in Southeast Idaho and across the globe.

“This was an incredible day as we celebrated the heroism of some amazing people but also as we remembered the lasting legacy of compassion and kindness of the Hansen family,” said Bryce Sitter, chief development officer for the Red Cross of Idaho and Montana. “We hope today will inspire others.” news director Nate Eaton emceed the event. Video stories featuring each of the recipients will be posted daily beginning Friday, March 6 on

All proceeds from the event will support the Red Cross Sound the Alarm program and Home Fire Campaign. Those programs aim to reduce death and serious injury in home fires through free smoke alarm installations and safety education.

To learn more about the Red Cross, become a volunteer or make an appointment to donate lifesaving blood, visit


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