Red Cross recognizes community heroes with annual ‘Celebration of Heroes’ event

Local News

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Heroes come in all shapes and sizes: They’re neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers who answer a call for help.

On Tuesday, 11 heroes were honored by the American Red Cross. None of them asked to be recognized, but they deserved the awards.

One recipient was Kenneth Porter, who received the “Blood Donor Hero” award.

“Made me feel happy,” said Porter. “I shed some tears. Never did it to get recognition, but when they came to me and asked if I’d like to be considered, ‘I said yeah go ahead.'”

Porter has helped thousands of people by donating 82.5 gallons of blood.

“I started donating in 1962, June 4, when I was in the military,” Porter said.

He and his wife drive the hour and half from Courtland to Norfolk at least 20 times per year so he can donate.

“I’ve always had to help somebody, and I feel like doing this is something that doesn’t bother me,” said Porter.

Another recipient, Wes Arendt, got the “Water Rescue Hero” award.

“We go to work and we want to help people, no matter what the circumstance,” said Arendt, who is a Virginia Beach firefighter and saved a group of people stuck in a rip current at the Oceanfront.

“To me, it was just swimming out and helping these people in need,” he said.

Arendt says this recognition means a lot, but hearing from the people he helped rescue is more special.

“That’s probably the most heartfelt award I could get was her — her account and her thanking me for that,” said Arendt.

Red Cross officials hope Tuesday’s event inspires people.

“Every person has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of someone in their community,” said Red Cross Coastal Chapter Executive Director Michelle Ellis Young.

10 On Your Side’s Anita Blanton emceed the event.

The other recipients include:

  • Sarah Allen and Jordan Riedel, Blood Drive Heroes
  • Destiny Jones, Good Samaritan Hero
  • Charlotte Tyeryar, Community Impact Hero
  • Mary Morton, First Responder Hero
  • New Creation United Methodist Church, Charles Drew Blood Drive Hero
  • Kristopher Hudgens and Anthony Young, Lifesaving Heroes
  • Tiffany McGee, Humanitarian Hero

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