Jennifer Ani Receives Life-saving Hero Award
by Katie Marzullo
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- You don't have to wear a uniform to be a hero. Thursday, the American Red Cross of Marin County honored several ordinary citizens who did some extraordinary things.
With ABC7's Cheryl Jennings at the helm, the American Red Cross of Marin County handed out hero awards. In most cases, the recipients didn't even know the person they helped, yet they risked their lives to save someone else's.
"I was not breathing. I'm not sure I had a heartbeat or not," said rescued kayaker Jim Thompson.
Thompson and his wife were kayaking when they capsized in the bay and Jim got sucked under a ferry. It was his worst day and his lucky day. The crew of a ferry turned around and the right people were in the right place.
"Good series of events where three guys, collegiate swimmers and water polo players happened to be on a boat 50 yards away from Jim," said Mike Sample, one of the American Red Cross heroes. "I swam up to Jim and I told Martha to grab the kayak and I grabbed Jim from behind and my two buddies, Chris and Kenny, grabbed his legs and all three of us got him over."
"I certainly would have died if not for Mike and his two friends," said Thompson.
Two young men put their Boy Scout training to good use when a house caught fire.
"The fire department was worried that [the fire] would spread to her house," said Jim Kelly, a 13-year-old hero.
They helped the woman who lived next door save the valuables from her home, just in case. They also pitched in to care for an injured cat.
"They handed us the oxygen mask and we knew what to do with it, so we helped the cat," said Sawyer Shine, a 12-year-old hero.
They boys are being shy, but Mill Valley Fire Chief Jeff Davidson said their actions should serve as an example for others.
"They don't necessarily see it as a heroic act, but I think it's important for others to be able to recognize that because it can be a very inspiring moment for people to see," said Davidson.
And that goes for all the heroes.
List of Heroes:
Life-Saving Hero Award: Jennifer Ani
Public Safety Hero: Justin Barrow, Debbie Little and Paul Bradley
Act of Courage Hero/Organization: Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Co.
Act of Courage Hero: Sawyer Shine and Jim Kelly
Acts of Kindness Hero: Chloe Bohannon
Community Service Hero Award, Organization: St. Vincent de Paul Society
Community Service Hero Award, Individual: Robert Tanem and Animal Rescue Hero Award: Lisa Cohen