Red Cross Honors Local Citizens with 20th Annual Heroes of the Heartland Awards

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Red Cross Honors Local Citizens with 20th Annual Heroes of the Heartland Awards

The American Red Cross (redcross.org) Serving the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro area recognized four area citizens with Heroes in the Heartland Awards on March 9 via a virtual event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the awards. The four winners were recognized for extraordinary acts and services to the community. The Heroes were nominated by peers and the general public, and then chosen by a committee of community members. The 2021 Heroes are:

  • Shelly Schwedhelm is the executive director of Emergency Preparedness and Infectious Disease at University of Nebraska Medical Center and holds leadership roles with the Bio Preparedness Team. She has led many of UNMC’s efforts in responding to the pandemic and is a strategic advisor on the allocation of resources.
  • Dennis Svoboda, who jumped into action when a member of his exercise group collapsed. Svoboda, a lieutenant with the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, started CPR, while others called 911. He continued compressions for about seven minutes until first responders arrived, helping ensure a full recovery for the individual.
  • Dan Schreck, who stepped up to do everything he could to help when blood collection faced challenges during COVID-19. From hosting blood drives through Church of Jesus Christ LDS in Papillion to connecting the Red Cross with additional prospective hosts, he has helped to ensure additional drives were held and increased donations were collected.
  • Scott Gray, the Omaha Police Deputy Chief who was inside an Omaha HyVee when gunfire was heard. He ran toward the shots and, along with a bystander, tackled the individual who had fired shots outside the building before walking inside and firing again. Fortunately, no one was hurt by the gunfire and the suspect was apprehended.

Video stories on each of the four Heroes and their acts and services were produced and shared during the virtual event and are available on the Nebraska Red Cross YouTube channel.

Heroes in the Heartland is the signature celebration and the primary annual fundraiser for the American Red Cross of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro Area. Funds raised during the event support the Home Fire Campaign, through which the Red Cross helps to prepare for, prevent, and respond to disasters. Donations ensure that the Red Cross can offer help and hope to those in the community affected by emergencies.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. For more information, please visit redcross.org or follow them on Facebook (@NEIARedCross) or Twitter (@neiaredcross).

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