The Ottumwa Courier


May 4, 2013

Honoring our heroes

We congratulate this year’s Heroes of the Heartland for the Southern Prairie chapter of the American Red Cross — six individuals who truly are making life-altering differences for those in their communities and around the globe.

On Friday, officials with our local Red Cross chapter and others honored Desirae Payne, Don Kirchner, Tom Shafer, Ruth Seim, Myles Sauer and Becky Smith.

Over the past few days, the Courier highlighted their efforts — Payne’s alter ego, Dizzy the Clown, entertains and educates children across southern Iowa; Don Kirchner is an advocate and volunteers for numerous causes, including helping those with drug and alcohol addiction; Shafer is a volunteer extraordinaire, actively engaged in numerous charitable events; Seim is the “Mother Superior” of music education and performs throughout the community; and Sauer and Smith were part of a group of heroes who tried to rescue a pilot after a plane crash at the Ottumwa Airport in 2011.

Of course, they are not alone. There are plenty of heroes in southern Iowa, but the Red Cross wanted to highlight those who don’t receive the kind of attention they deserve.

After all, Red Cross is in the business of changing lives for the better, but it does so without seeking glory or fame.

Red Cross volunteers, including many here in southern Iowa, help local families who lose everything in a house fire or other disaster; they connect deployed service members with their families; they offer health, safety and preparedness training; and they respond to disasters around the country and the world.

Friday’s breakfast was also a fundraiser for our local Red Cross chapter. And as you can imagine, doing the type of work they do takes money, so the Heroes of the Heartland concept is a great way to raise funds and honor others at the same time.

We look forward to next year’s efforts and hope all southern Iowans will take a moment to nominate someone they believe is making a real difference in the lives of so many others.

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