FARMINGTON — The area American Red Cross chapter on Friday honored heroes in the community for their humanitarian acts and heroism.
The Northwestern New Mexico American Red Cross hosted its fourth annual Real Heroes Breakfast and awards ceremony Friday morning at the Courtyard by Marriott.
Each year, a committee of volunteers takes nominations from the community for the awards, said Amanda Romano, the chapter's community relations manager. The committee then selects eight winners for the awards, including Animal Rescue Hero, Disaster Relief Hero and Youth and Adult Good Samaritan, as well as the Humanitarian of the Year honor.
Animal Rescue Hero: Gina Morris
Firefighter Hero: Robert Hays
Water Rescue Hero: Raimi Clark
Law Enforcement Heroes: San Juan County Sheriff s Office Deputies Chad Langley and Josh Lynn
Disaster Relief Hero: Vince Moffitt
Youth Good Samaritan: Connor Rassmussen
Adult Good Samaritan: Steve Rogge
Humanitarian of the Year: Ronna Jordan
The keynote speaker was three-time Paralympic gold medalist Alana Nichols, a Farmington native who spoke about her journey recovering from a spinal cord injury in 2000 to becoming an accomplished athlete in wheelchair basketball and alpine skiing.
Nichols said it was a honor to speak to the crowd and share how the Farmington community — along with her friends and families — has been key to her success.
"My main message was how I couldn't have done any of the things I've been able to do without the support of my community ... That's what the Red Cross is about — volunteers meeting people in their time of need and hopefully being able to assist them in whatever they are trying to do," Nichols said.
"To be recognized with this group of people, it's humbling because you have a lot of great people that do a lot of great things in the world and this is just part of it," Moffitt said.
The Water Rescue Hero Award went to 15-year-old Raimi Clark, who was honored for her actions as a Farmington Aquatic Center lifeguard. She saved a man's life after he was found facedown in the pool.
"I just did what I think any person would have done in the same situation," Clark said. "You see someone in need and you just help them. It's a honor to be part of such an experience where there are so many individuals here that do so much work for the community."