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CBS 2’s Rob Johnson and Irika Sargent

This month marks 15 years of the American Red Cross celebrating local heroes who have gone above and beyond serving their community.

From a Lake Forest father who has distributed seven million books to underserved Chicago youth to an Oak Park teenager who has organized a system to meet the hygiene needs of homeless women, all 19 honorees of the annual Red Cross Heroes Breakfast have demonstrated their commitment to giving back.

The event was established in 2002 to help raise awareness for local heroes who carry out the mission of the Red Cross by making a commitment to creating stronger communities and providing help when disaster strikes.

“The American Red Cross is proud to honor extraordinary people in our community who have made a difference in the lives of others at home and around the world,” says Celena Roldán, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “We are reminded that any person can be a hero at any time, any age, or any place.”

American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois Celebrates 15 Years of Community Heroes

Many know the Heroes Breakfast as a celebration of spirit and community. Every year, heroes in 11 categories are presented with a medal of honor, inspiring more than 800 philanthropic and distinguished guests attendees to help in their own way by sharing their personal stories of courage and compassion.

This year’s honorees hail from all corners of Chicagoland and represent the following award categories:

  • Blood Services Hero: Mark Buciak of Chicago
  • Community Impact Hero: Brian Floriani of Lake Forest
  • Disaster Services Hero: Ray Carter of Chicago
  • Emergency Medical Assistance Heroes: Chicago Firefighter Rylenski Strong and Chicago Police Detective Donovan Jackson of Chicago
  • Firefighter Hero: Firefighter and Paramedic Chris Tierney of Streamwood
  • Global Citizenship Hero: Dr. Michael Mills, M.D. of Chicago
  • Good Samaritan Heroes: Steven and Diane Spurling of St. Charles
  • Law Enforcement Heroes: Lieutenant Eve Gushes, Sergeant Nichelle Fraction, Sergeant Charles Artz, Officer Michael Cleary, Officer Myrian Bugarin and Officer Janice Wilson of the Chicago Police Department
  • Military Heroes: Pat Gleason and Don Jackson of Chicago
  • Nurse Hero: Tobin Mathew, R.N., of Chicago
  • Youth Hero: Lily Alter of Oak Park

With the help of community supporters including United Airlines, Kirkland & Ellis, Northern Trust and Motorola Solutions, the Red Cross is able to continue serving the community by honoring everyday heroes through the yearly event.

To become inspired in the face of bravery, dedication and service, purchase your ticket to the 15th Annual Red Cross Heroes Breakfast on April 27 at the Hilton Chicago.