Red Cross honors West Michigan first responders and military as "Hometown Heroes"
KALAMAZOO, Mich. —
The American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan paid a special tribute to first responders in West Michigan.
More than 50 first responders from area agencies and military members were celebrated Tuesday at the fourth annual Hometown Heroes Luncheon.
“Makes me feel proud for what we do every day,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. John Sheets. “I’ve been around the world, I’ve done a lot of different things and there’s nothing in my mind that if I had to make the choice over again, I’d do absolutely in a heartbeat.”
Every day, those who protect and serve put their lives on the line for people in their communities.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Jeffrey Noel, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs for Whirlpool Corporation.
“I want to thank you for what you do. I want to thank you for inspiring others,” Noel said to the crowd of first responders and military members.
The Red Cross usually honors one person during its annual luncheon. Director Breeze Ettle said during 2018, all agencies in the area played a major role in situations that heavily impacted communities. Ettle said these were situations like flooding, fatal fires and PFAS.
“So, this year, we decided to invite all of you—all of the organizations that help keep our communities safe and resilient,” Ettle said from the podium.
The Red Cross works hand in hand with members of all the area agencies represented at the ceremony. Many have partnered with the organization on several areas of devastation in other states.
“Hearing the things that everybody’s been saying that they’ve done for the wildfires in California to helping out with the hurricanes. It makes me want to volunteer more,” said Sheets.
It was also a celebration to honor Red Cross volunteers. Many of them risk their lives as well when natural disasters strike across the country, which include Michigan volunteers in California helping survivors in the deadly wildfires.