redcross-logoHeroes are often described as people who perform selfless acts to help individuals in need. On Thursday, June 6, nine people who fit that description were honored at the 2013 Red Cross Heroes Breakfast in Minneapolis, MN, which Thomson Reuters proudly sponsored. The recipients were nominated by community members and selected by the 2013 Heroes Breakfast Nomination Committee.

“The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors,” said Craig Yolitz, vice president of Customer Operations at FindLaw. “We are proud to partner with an organization like the American Red Cross, as it exemplifies our commitment to the community.”

According to Yolitz, the best part about the Red Cross is that anyone can help at any time. Donate money, volunteer time, give blood, take a class (CPR, Lifeguarding, babysitting), whichever is easiest.

Local heroes in the following categories were recognized at the Heroes Breakfast:

Jeffery Wynne displayed leadership and commitment to his community by making a positive and significant impact. He has worked tirelessly with inmates at the Dakota County Jail to better their lives after he was released in 2008.

Claudia Kelly exhibited heroic efforts by spending four months in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, providing food, shelter, and eventually finding long-term housing for those who were affected by the storm.

Jim Jukich, while working as “Janitor Jim” at an elementary school in Duluth, MN, used the Heimlich maneuver to assist a first-grader who was choking.

Captain Bob Kippels acted above and beyond the call of duty in his role as a St. Paul Firefighter.

Doug Szarkowski’s blood and platelet donation played a significant role in ensuring the health of patients throughout the country. Doug and his two daughters have donated 117 gallons of blood products as a team, which has helped 640 people in need.

Dave Nelson and Teresa Hazeman displayed courage and caring upon encountering a co-worker whose speech became suddenly slurred and then collapsed. They called for help and started performing CPR immediately. They later found out the man had three heart attacks, but wouldn’t have survived if not for their quick thinking.

Dave Kromschroeder acted above and beyond the call of duty when he saved a 6-year-old girl, who fell into a partially-filled pool, and her 8-year-old cousin, who had jumped in trying to save her. Kromschroeder jumped into the frigid 32 degree water to pull the children out of the water, then immediately began to administer CPR to the unconscious child in blizzard conditions. A week later, he learned that both children had made full recoveries.

Sergeant Brian Saaristo is an active member of the Armed Forces who acted above and beyond the call of duty when he lost both his legs below the knees on the battlefield in Iraq in 2006. But it didn’t take him long to get back up on his new feet, and today he uses his love of golf to help other wounded veterans and their families.

Geoff Racette displayed courage and caring upon encountering a turned over vehicle partly submerged in a pond as he was biking past. A woman had been in the car for 18 hours, so Geoff immediately called for help, then went to a nearby store for snacks after finding out she was diabetic and without her medication.

If you are interested in learning more about the Red Cross or how you can help, visit their website at

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