BURLINGTON -- The Vermont and New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross is accepting nominations for unsung local heroes who deserve to be honored by the community.

Community members are encouraged to submit nominations through Monday, March 3, and can nominate local heroes in one of eight categories: Armed Forces/Military Hero, Animal Hero, Youth Good Samaritan, Adult Good Samaritan, First Responder, Community Impact, Blood Services/Gift of Life, and Spirit of the Red Cross. Award winners will be honored at a Heroes Breakfast on April 29. The act of heroism must have been performed between now and September 2012.

"At our first ever Heroes Breakfast, the Vermont and New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross will honor community members who have demonstrated heroism through extraordinary acts of courage or kindness," said Red Cross Regional Executive Larry Crist. "The Heroes Breakfast is a celebration of spirit and community. Whether it's helping someone escape a burning building or changing a life through acts of generosity and caring, heroism happens in our community every day."

According to the Red Cross' website, the Armed Forces/Military Hero award will be presented to an "active, reserve, or retired member of the Armed Forces, or ROTC, or civilian that has made a significant impact on the military community.


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The Animal Hero award will go to "an animal that has protected a human or another animal in a time of need, or a person who has rescued an animal from a traumatic situation."

The Good Samaritan Awards will go to an adult and a youth (under 21 years of age) who "administered first aid/CPR or otherwise displayed courage and compassion upon encountering an unusual, significant, or unexpected situation."

The first responder award will be "presented to an individual or group within the public service community (i.e. EMS, fire fighter, or law enforcement) who went above and beyond the call of duty."

The Community Impact Award will be presented to "an individual or organization who displays leadership and commitment to their community by making a positive and significant impact. The Blood Services/Gift of Life award will be "presented to an individual whose commitment to blood and platelet donation played a significant role in ensuring the health of patients in our local communities and throughout the region." Finally, the Spirit of the Red Cross award will go to "a person or an organization that is committed to helping other through volunteerism either locally, nationally, or internationally."

"It's been a nice event for other Red Cross organizations across the country," said Director of External Relations and Communications Doug Bishop. "It gives the community a chance to honor its unsung heroes."

He said that so far the organization has received 40-50 nominations, running the gamut from people who pulled others out of a burning building, to people who volunteer at community organizations, to people who made a kind gesture that didn't go unnoticed.

Bishop said the organization recently saw an uptick in nominations, and decided to extend the nomination period until March 3. If you'd like to nominate a person or individual, visit redcross.org/vermontheroes or call 802-660-9130, ext. 111.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB