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American Red Cross honors local Heroes of the Heartland

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson was joined by representative members of the responding team that assisted in the rescue efforts of severely autistic Mackenzie Stevens (above with Lawson). Stevens wandered from home and entered the swollen Little Sioux River, setting off a search-and-rescue effort which eventually located Stevens six miles down river.
(Photos by Randy M. Cauthron)
Satellite office to open in Dream Center

The American Red Cross of Northwestern Iowa celebrated and honored common citizens, the unheralded and unselfish pillars of their communities, on Tuesday, May 15. During the event, local resource representative Bob Kirschbaum announced that the Red Cross would be opening a satellite office in the Dream Center on the third floor of the building.

"We are in the process of moving to a new location in the next month. We will move to the Dream Center. We look forward to partnering with the Dream Center," Kirschbaum said. "It's more accessible to our patrons, and has large space for meetings and training."

Kirschbaum also noted the two entities share similar missions.

Doug and Dustin Schwaller
Local organizers anticipate the move to the Dream Center will save Red Cross thousands of dollars annually.

A former Spencer elementary school principal, Kirschbaum encouraged all in attendance to serve as volunteers through the Red Cross or to consider donations to assist in disaster recovery efforts.

Those honored by the Red Cross at the annual celebration, conducted at the Spencer Schools Administration Building, include:

* Doug & Dustin Schwaller -- Nominated for performing CPR on a man who had a heart attack while clearing snow. These two young men didn't panic and were able to calmly react to the medical emergency. Doctors at the hospital stated the immediate action probably saved his life.

Spencer Police officer Micah Otterloo and Jennifer Meyer, board chariman for the Red Cross.
* Spencer Police officers Joel Maaland and Micah Otterloo -- Nominated for their quick action to save Jan Delray, who passed out due to a cardiac event while driving. After starting CPR, they shocked her with an AED device and covered her in a cooling blanket. The Spencer responders worked together to make sure Jan survived.

* Pastor Kevin Grimes -- Nominated for working tirelessly to make a dream a reality with the Spencer Dream Center. Kevin led the charge to convert an empty building into a place of help for the community that provides clothing, food, shelter, and a medical clinic.

Spencer Dream Center Board President Kevin Grimes (left) was honored for seeing his vision through to completion in the creation of the Dream Center. He is joined by board secretary and director of The Underground youth center, Pastor Dave Watson.
* Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson -- Nominated for coordinating a massive search for a young autistic girl that disappeared. The girl was found six miles down river, holding on to a tree branch in the water. Due to Mark's leadership and coordination, the girl was found alive and well.

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