Red Cross honors Peninsula heroes
Click here to zoom...
Ernst-Ulrich Schäfer
The American Red Cross Olympic Peninsula chapter presented six awards to North Olympic Peninsula residents at its Heroes Dinner last week. The recipients and their awards are, from left, Ken Sukert, Workplace Rescue; East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Chief Gordon Pomeroy, Medical Preparedness; Scotty MaBerry, Community Preparedness; Caleb Lumbard, Youth Water Rescue; Diana Leisa, Community Preparedness; Dr. Sandra Smith-Poling, Medical Preparedness; Bryce Hatt, Community Preparedness; Lily Foster, who was saved from choking by her sister, Amelia; Amelia Foster, Youth Medical Rescue; Austin Ritter, Community Preparedness; Travis Hunter, Community Preparedness; and Ron Thomson, Wilderness Medical Rescue. Not pictured is Bob Foster, who received the Workplace Rescue Award with Sukert.

Peninsula Daily News

BLYN — The American Red Cross Olympic Peninsula chapter honored people from across the North Olympic Peninsula for their life-saving actions during its annual Heroes Dinner last week.

The dinner honored Amelia Foster, 11, of Port Hadlock; Caleb Lumbard, 13, of Port Townsend; Ken Sukert and Bob Foster, 7 Cedars Casino employees; East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Chief Gordon Pomeroy and Dr. Sandra Smith-Poling of Jefferson Healthcare hospital; Ron Thomson of Sequim; and Clallam Bay teacher Diana Leiza and students, including Bryce Hatt, Scotty MaBerry, Austin Ritter and Travis Hunter.

Six awards were presented during the Thursday dinner in Club Seven Lounge at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn.

“The Heroes Dinner is a crucial part of the Red Cross here in the Olympic Peninsula,” said Michelle Kelley, chief executive officer of the Olympic Peninsula chapter.

“We take this time every year to honor those in our community who have gone above and beyond.

“This year's heroes are no exception. Every one of them deserves special recognition for coming to the aid of others.”

The dinner raised $34,000 for local disaster relief, Kelley said.

The Jamestown S'Klallam tribe and 7 Cedars Casino were the leadership sponsors, while Green Crow was the sustaining sponsor for this year's dinner.

Here are this year's recipients and a short summary of their heroic actions.

Amelia Foster

This Port Hadlock 11-year-old was honored with the Youth Medical Rescue Award for saving her 4-year-old sister's life.

Lily choked on hard candy during a backyard birthday party for Amelia in July.

Relying on skills she had learned in a Red Cross babysitting class the week before, Amelia heard the choking sounds and immediately had her sister open her mouth.

She could see the candy lodged in her windpipe, so she told Lily to cough.

When that didn't dislodge the candy, Amelia pounded on her back until it came out.

Their mother, Stephanie, said that by the time she realized what had happened, Lily was crying and breathing again.

“Stephanie's first reactions were relief but also those of a proud parent. Amelia had gone straight into action,” the Red Cross said in its program for the dinner.

The award was presented by Michelle Kelley for Kelley Shields Inc., which is owned by her husband, Dennis Shields.

Caleb Lumbard

The Youth Water Rescue Award went to this Port Townsend boy, who was 13 when he took over steering a boat and getting help for his grandfather, Dave Thompson, after he suffered a heart attack Aug. 11.

Thompson, a Port of Port Townsend commissioner and shipwright, and his grandson were on a sailing trip when Thompson became ill early on the second day.

Caleb took control of their sailboat at about 1 a.m. near Protection Island and guided paramedics to their location.

Thompson had bypass surgery at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton and has recovered.

“Heroic actions come in all forms; sometimes they involve doing what seems obvious,” the Red Cross said.

“Caleb did just that, by getting them safely to shore.

“He is his grandfather's hero.”

The award was presented by Samantha Oaks for Columbia Bank.

Ken Sukert and Bob Foster

Sukert and Foster, both 7 Cedars Casino employees, received the Workplace Rescue Award for providing life-saving medical assistance while on the job last December.

A man in his early 70s collapsed in the Totem Lounge with a heart attack.

Sukert immediately checked the man's vital signs. He had stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Sukert, who is the former Jefferson County undersheriff, began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, and was quickly joined by casino information technology department employee Bob Foster, an emergency medical technician.

They continued the life-saving procedure on the man, who was unidentified, until paramedics with Clallam County Fire District No. 3 arrived.

Sukert's and Foster's “immediate response and use of CPR helped save one man's life,” said the Red Cross.

The award was presented by Brian Kuh, representing Bob and Margery Helander.

Chief Gordon Pomeroy and Dr. Sandra Smith-Poling

The East Jefferson Fire-Rescue chief and Jefferson Healthcare hospital doctor were honored with the Medical Preparedness Award for developing local protocols to administer clot-busting drugs to heart attack victims while en route to a hospital.

The protocol for use of TNKase, a blood thinner, was set up in 2009 by a team that included Pomeroy and Smith-Poling.

The medication buys time for patients, said Pomeroy, adding that time is muscle during a heart attack.

Since then, between 15 and 20 people have received the medication, Kelley said.

“Because of their foresight, numerous lives have been saved,” she said.

The award was presented by Dr. John Skow and Jeanne Skow.

Ron Thomson

Thomson's quick and sustained action in helping fellow mountain biker Nash Huber after he was seriously hurt during an outing earned him the Wilderness Medical Rescue Award.

The Sequim man provided basic first aid and reassurance during a nearly two-hour wait for paramedics after Huber, owner of Nash's Organic Produce, failed to make a sharp turn and flew off the edge of a trail on Burnt Hill in May.

Huber, 71, suffered a broken jaw, a broken nose and a minor neck injury in the fall that also knocked out two teeth.

Huber attended the Thursday ceremony, Kelley said.

“He's made a really great recovery,” she said. “He's out riding already.”

The award was presented by Celeste Dybeck, representing Sequim Valley Orthodontics.

Emergency Preparedness Program

The Clallam Bay School Emergency Preparedness Program was recognized with the Community Preparedness Award for implementing preparedness measures in the school.

Several high school students, led by teacher Diana Leiza, assembled emergency kits for each student in the elementary school.

The students also helped spark a communitywide safety initiative.

The program was begun by students Bryce Hatt and Scotty MaBerry as their senior project last school year.

Students Austin Ritter and Travis Hunter assisted and are participating again this school year.

“The students understand the responsibility to give back to others when you live in a small community,” Leiza said. “I'm very proud of them.”

The award was presented by Tom Anderson, representing First Federal.

American Red Cross Olympic Peninsula chapter serves Clallam and Jefferson counties. For more information about the Peninsula chapter, visit

Donations for local disaster relief can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 188, Carlsborg, WA 98324, with a check memo line reading “local disaster relief.”

Financial donations for relief outside of the Peninsula, such as for superstorm Sandy, can be sent to the local address or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013, as well as by visiting, phoning 800-733- 2777 or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Last modified: November 10. 2012 5:52PM
Reader Comments
Local Business
Friends to Follow

To register a complaint about a comment, email and refer to the article and offending comment, or click here: REPORT ABUSE. comments are subject to the User Policy.

From the PDN:

All materials Copyright © 2016 Black Press Ltd./Sound Publishing Inc. • Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyAssociated Press Privacy PolicyAssociated Press Terms of UseContact Us