Summit, Portage and Medina Counties heroes honored for ‘Acts of Courage’

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

March 11, 2019- During the evening of March 7, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio and the Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter celebrated heroic acts and bravery accomplished by local heroes.

The 23rd annual Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter Act of Courage event, which was held at the Hilton Akron-Fairlawn, celebrated selflessness and the quick action of eight individuals, who sprang into action to assist others in need.

Marea Ludwig of Ravenna, one of the eight honorees, said her family and coworkers were excited for her.  “I feel like it’s a great big balloon of thank you,” she said prior to the start of the ceremony.

47268408582_272a7a6142_z

Marea Ludwig, left, and Rachel Telegdy, Executive Director, Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter.

Marea was honored for performing CPR during her first day at Litehouse Pools & Spas in Ravenna, when one of her co-workers collapsed in the backroom.

Along with the Acts of Courage Award, Marea, who received her CPR training with the Red Cross, also received the Certificate of Merit from the Red Cross’ national headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Certificate of Merit is the highest award given by the Red Cross for saving a life.

Along with Marea, here are the stories of the other brave award winners.

Eric Peterson

47320863791_c361320bc5_z

Eric Peterson and Rachel Telegdy

Eric Peterson of Atwater, during his morning commute to work, noticed his neighbor’s home was on fire. He stopped his car, ran to the house and began to bang on the windows and doors to alert anyone who was still inside.

Suddenly, a noise grabbed Eric’s attention and he watched as the attached garage door opened. A young girl and a dog, who Eric had seen playing in the yard many times during his daily commute, stumbled out of the home.  As another neighbor called emergency services, Eric ran into the home. As smoke alarms blared, his shouting alerted the remaining family members to the danger. A mother and two children fled the smoke-filled home after hearing Eric’s warning. Assured that no one else remained in the home, Eric escaped through a window.

Outside, a mother and her three children huddled together with other neighbors, watching the smoke billow from the home.

Unruffled, Eric called his wife to tell her what was happening down the street, and continued his commute to work.

Detective Susan Hackbart and Tonya Gardella

46405974895_c622193dc4_z

Tonya Gardella and Detective Susan Hackbart

Last August, Detective Susan Hackbart of Akron was called to work at the Goodyear Public Library, where Tonya Gardella of Brunswick is the branch manager.

A few minutes into the shift, Detective Hackbart was alerted to a patron who was in distress. As she was examining the situation, the patron slipped into unconsciousness.

Tonya took control of the scene and she called for one of her employees to get the branch’s AED and for another to call 911.

Detective Hackbart began CPR, pausing only to place the sticky pads from the AED on the patron. They started the AED and followed its directions until EMS arrived. Thankfully, the individual was fully revived at the hospital.

Officer Timothy Hunt

47268408812_17287ec838_z

Officer Timothy Hunt and Rachel Telegdy

Officer Timothy Hunt of Barberton, a member of the Akron Police Department, was dispatched during a night shift in July to attend to an unresponsive 2-year-old. Police and EMS arrived at the same time to find the child not breathing and without a pulse.

While EMS rushed to start an IV and other life saving measures, Office Hunt jumped in the ambulance and performed CPR while the medics continued to work on the child during the 20-minute ride to the hospital.

The child survived due to the heroic efforts of EMS and the resolute hands of Officer Hunt.

Paul Miroewski

47320865341_7c3e0b0c18_z

Paul Miroewski and Rachel Telegdy

Paul Miroewski of Northfield was driving home on I-271 from his maintenance job in Lyndhurst when he witnessed a semi-tractor trailer smash into another vehicle, flipping the vehicle onto the passenger side. As Paul pulled his vehicle to the side of the road, he could see flames already licking the side of the road and the undercarriage of the truck.

He paused to check on the semi-driver, and learning that he was fine, continued to the overturned vehicle. Another driver, an off-duty fireman, stopped and, together, he and Paul tore off the windshield and helped pull the victim from his truck. Nearly two minutes later, both the car and semi exploded.

Brandon Waterson

47320869001_d03e9a66e5_z

Rachel Telegdy and Brandon Waterson

Brandon Waterson of Kent was on summer break from school and had been playing at a friend’s house across the street when he returned home for a quick lunch.

Before entering his home, Brandon noticed that his next-door-neighbor’s house had smoke billowing out of it.

Brandon called his mother to alert her and she told him to call 9-1-1. He ran to another neighbor’s house who helped the shy boy contact emergency services.

The owner of the home had left a candle burning while she was at work. By alerting an adult, and, in turn, the authorities, Brandon helped save the neighbor’s dog and home.

Tave Constantine

47320864411_5d84b38146_z

Tave Constantine and Rachel Telegdy

Tave Constantine of Mogadore heard his mother, a thyroid cancer survivor who sometimes has difficulty eating due to her many surgeries, make distressed noises. He calmly asked her if she was okay. When she was not able to answer him, he ran to her and began administering abdominal thrusts and back blows.

His mother could feel herself passing out, but Tave’s continued effort and care helped dislodge the food and she was finally able to breath.

Like Marea Ludwig, Samantha Balaj also received the Certificate of Merit from the Red Cross.

During a theater class at Slippery Rock University, a student collapsed and became unconscious. Originally, Samantha thought her classmate was having a seizure,  however, as she was assessing the scene, she noticed the student did not have pulse. At that moment, Samantha’s Red Cross training kicked in and she began CPR on the student until emergency services arrived.

46597766994_2b8197d4fe_z

Rachel Telegdy, Samantha Balaj and Mike Parks, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

Samantha also helped lead a demonstration of hands-only CPR for those in attendance.

40355818863_d747b50614_z

Samantha Balaj demonstrating hands-only CPR

In addition to recognizing the heroism of area residents at the event, the Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina Counties presented the H. Peter Burg Community Leader Award to Virginia Addicott, for her leadership as the president and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical® and in the community.

46597763644_2913fbfa7d_z

Rachel Telegdy, Virginia Addicott and Bill Considine

While CEO of FirstEnergy, and chair of the local Red Cross Board of Directors, H. Peter Burg established a legacy of dedicated service to the Greater Akron community. Following his death in 2004, the Red Cross established an award in Pete’s name to honor his memory and inspire others. By bestowing the award on Virginia, the Red Cross recognizes her lifetime of community service.

You too can be a local hero. If you are interested in taking a Red Cross training, such as CPR, life guarding and babysitting, please visit redcross.org/take-a-class to see upcoming classes and to register.

You can also be a hero to someone in need by donating life saving blood. Visit RedCrossBlood.org to find a blood drive near you and to schedule an appointment to give now.

If you would like to have the Red Cross provide a FREE hands-only CPR training for your business or organization, please fill out our event registration form.

To view more photos from the Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter Acts of Courage event, visit the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio’s Flickr page.

March is Red Cross Month: Highlighting the impact of the Red Cross in Northeast Ohio and beyond

February 28, 2019—March is Red Cross Month, and the American Red Cross asks everyone to be a hero in their community by becoming a volunteer, learning lifesaving skills, giving blood or donating to #help1family on Red Cross Giving Day, March 27.

The need to help people is constant—and the past year of busy disaster activity was no exception. For 324 consecutive days, more than 43,000 people relied on the Red Cross for emergency shelter following events like record wildfires, hurricanes, floods and large apartment fires. From April 2018 to February 2019, more than 11,500 Red Cross volunteers left the comfort of their own homes to provide comfort, care and a safe place to sleep for tens of thousands affected by disasters.

Disatser Stats- FBDuring that period of devastating disaster, the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio had 150 disaster volunteers deployed across the country, assisting residents in need and helping spread the Red Cross story, including Doug Bardwell, who was deployed for the first time and was sent to the Camp Fire disaster in California as a public affairs volunteer.

“During Red Cross Month, we honor the volunteer heroes who help families overcome life’s emergencies every day,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “These champions are our neighbors—ordinary people who make an extraordinary difference to ease the suffering of others, whether it’s saving a person’s life with CPR, donating blood for a hospital patient with life-threatening conditions, or comforting a family overwhelmed by a home fire or other crisis. We ask you to consider joining these heroes to answer the call for service in your community.”

WHAT IS RED CROSS MONTH More than 75 years ago, March was first proclaimed Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to raise awareness of the organization and its humanitarian mission. All U.S. presidents since Roosevelt have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world through its workforce powered by more than 90 percent volunteers.

EVERY EIGHT MINUTES, SOMEONE NEEDS HELP The Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 disasters a year, most of which are home fires. In January alone, Red Cross volunteers helped about 24,000 people affected by more than 5,700 home fires across every state.

Disasters can cause other critical needs too. This winter, thousands of blood donations have gone uncollected due to snow storms and extreme cold—underscoring the constant need for eligible individuals to donate blood.

‘VOLUNTEERING WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE’ Joe Apicelli is among the nearly 372,000 individuals who volunteer with the American Red Cross. Following a massive hurricane more than a decade ago, he was inspired to respond with his local chapter upon seeing heartbreaking images of the storm’s aftermath. Ever since, Apicelli has helped people affected by disasters, including last year’s record wildfires in California and Hurricanes Florence and Michael.207701-05-Giving-Day-2019-Social-Media-1200x1200-FB2

“Volunteering will change your life. It will give you an opportunity to work with people from all over the country and change up your lifestyle,” Apicelli said. “If you want to reach out and help others, volunteer and see the difference it can make in your life. I am honored every time I get to work with my fellow Red Crossers. These are people who have given up their vacation and free time to help others.”

HOW YOU CAN #HELP1FAMILY Learn more about how you can help in your area by contacting your local Red Cross chapter or visiting redcross.org/neo:

  • Become a volunteer: Help families affected by disasters and install lifesaving smoke alarms to keep neighbors safe from home fires. In some areas, you can also provide emergency assistance for military members and veterans, or help reconnect families separated by international conflict.
  • Give blood: Make an appointment to donate lifesaving blood or platelets.
  • Learn lifesaving skills: Register for a class to learn first aid, CPR and other skills.
  • Make a financial donation: On March 27—American Red Cross Giving Day—donate at redcross.org/givingdayuniting with thousands of people like you to help families during the first devastating hours of a disaster. Your gift can provide hope and urgent relief like food, shelter and other essentials for families who need it most.

Below is a video explaining the Red Cross’ history and how your support this March impacts your local community here in Northeast Ohio.

 

Annual toy giveaway makes season brighter for families

By Brad Galvin and edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteers.

The annual TravelCenters of America Toy Giveaway event is Renee Palagyi’s favorite day of the year. Watching children with parents excitedly selecting toys and stuffed animals and enjoying hot cocoa, the Senior Disaster Program Manager of the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region said, “This is a very important light at the end of a really challenging year for a lot of these recipients.”

IMG_5887In its 20th year, the Annual Toy Giveaway is an event where 200 children were invited to enjoy festive cheer and take home new toys and goodies. The event aims to make the holidays a little more cheerful for community members who have been the victims of various disasters.

Employees of TravelCenters of America, headquartered in Westlake, began the tradition of collecting toys for children 20 years ago. This year, members of Local 93 of the Cleveland Firefighters Union also contributed toys, as did many Red Cross employees.

On October 27, Wyonna Nash’s home was engulfed in a home fire. She and her children made it out safely but the past few months have been challenging. As she was helping her child choose a toy, she said, “We are grateful to the Red Cross. We are happy to be here. Without them, we don’t know where we would be.”

“Children need toys. This is Christmastime,” said Tom Liutkus, Senior Vice President of Marketing for TravelCenters of America. “We want them to have a memorable Christmas in what was otherwise a tragedy that may have occurred in their lives.” IMG_5894

Tom said that over the past 20 years, employees of TravelCenters of America have donated more than 5,500 toys for the annual giveaway.

The event was also attended by many volunteers who responded to disasters throughout the year. It’s a rewarding experience, since the last time the volunteers saw many of the recipients, they were dealing with one of the worst days of their lives; often, as firefighters were trying to salvage what was left of homes and apartment buildings.

IMG_5900Ellen Braun, a volunteer who has assisted with the toy drive over the last few years explained, “It’s all about giving back. The holidays are about kids and family. I just wish I could help more!”

Between the hugs, toys and messages of hope, the event was a wonderfully festive occasion that helped make the holidays a little brighter for families who have had a devastating 2018.  Watch a video of the event here.

You may also view more photos of the toy giveaway by visiting our Flickr page here.

If you’d like to help families who experience home fires and other disasters, you can donate to Disaster Relief, or become a Red Cross disaster services volunteer.  Visit redcross.org.neo for more information.

Celebrating Chapter Centennial at BASH

BASH 2017 not only brought together Red Cross supporters, family and friends, it also marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of Red Cross chapters in Stark County, Dover and New Philadelphia.

About 285 people enjoyed dinner at the MAPS Air Museum in North Canton.  Several placed bids on some coveted auction items, including an adorable puppy.

puppy

Jennifer McNemar offered the winning bid for Kimber

As usual, many guests played along with the M*A*S*H theme, dressing in Hawaiian shirts, medical attire and military uniforms.  Thanks to their generosity, about $95,000 was raised to help support Red Cross disaster relief work in what is now the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter.

“We had a great evening,” said Kim Kroh, Chapter Executive Director. “I am so appreciative of the way our community supports the Red Cross.  Their support helps us provide vital services to people when they experience a home fire or some other disaster.”

Additionally, Heather Zuniga received a special award for performing CPR on Don Joliat after he was pulled from the Meyers Lake YMCA pool. Her efforts saved his life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can help support the work of the Red Cross by visiting redcross.org/donate and selecting YOUR LOCAL RED CROSS from the drop down menu under support.

 

 

 

Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball This Saturday

KeyCorp CEO Beth E. Mooney to Receive Humanitarian Award

The 25th anniversary of Operation Save-A-Life will be celebrated at the 2017 American Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball this Saturday, March 25th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Cleveland.  And Beth E. Mooney, Chair and CEO of KeyCorp, will be honored with the Steve D. Bullock Humanitarian Award.

Founded in Cleveland in 1992, Operation Save-A-Life offers residents in neighborhoods deemed to be at high risk for home fires valuable fire safety education and smoke alarm installations. Together with partners like the Cleveland Division of Fire, more than 160,000 smoke alarms have been installed in homes throughout Northeast Ohio since 1992, at no cost to residents.

32318085936_88b63d82c1_z

The program has been so successful that in 2014, the Red Cross rolled out the Home Fire Campaign nationwide.  Modeled after Operation Save-A-Life in Cleveland, the goal of the program is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths due to home fires 25% by the year 2020.

As of March 17, 2017, 197 lives have been saved nationally because of working smoke alarms installed by Red Cross workers, volunteers, and community partners.

In fiscal year 2016 alone, the Red Cross and its community partners installed nearly 13,000 smoke alarms in homes throughout the 22 counties served by the Northeast Ohio Region, more than doubling the goal of 6,000 alarms.  This fiscal year, the goal of 10,000 smoke alarms was reached on March 6, 2017, thanks to the power of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors.

Residents in need of smoke alarms in their homes can visit redcross.org/neoosal, or call 216-361-5535 in Greater Cleveland to schedule an appointment for a home fire safety inspection and free smoke alarm installation.

Beth MooneyThe Humanitarian Award is presented to an honoree who embodies the spirit of the Red Cross, through their contributions to the welfare and quality of life in the community.

“Beth’s values certainly reflect those of the Red Cross,” said Mike Parks, CEO of the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region. “Her work with KeyBank and her many civic and philanthropic endeavors make her a most worthy recipient of the Humanitarian Award.”

Beth Mooney joined KeyCorp in 2006, and was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2011, guiding the 190-year-old institution into becoming one of the nation’s largest and most respected bank-based financial services companies. Forbes Magazine has named her one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,” Fortune Magazine declared her one of the top 50 “Most Powerful Women in Business” and American Banker Magazine named her the “Most Powerful Woman in Banking” three consecutive times.

The first Humanitarian Award was presented to philanthropist Sam Miller in 1993, a year after he provided the initial funding to create Operation Save-A-Life.

Previous winners of the Humanitarian Award include:

2014     Sandy Cutler
2012     Richard W. and Patricia R. Pogue
2009     Henry Meyer and Mayor Frank Jackson
2008     Joseph J. LoPresti (posthumously)
2005     William W. Rowley
2004     Terry R. White
2001     Bishop Anthony Pilla and Rabbi Armond E. Cohen
1999     Albert M. Higley Jr. and Beverly Higley
1997     Drs. Floyd Loop and Bernadine Healy
1995     Rena and Michael Blumberg
1993     Samuel H. Miller

Those interested in attending the 2017 Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball can contact Angela Gibian at angela.gibian@redcross.org, or call 216-431-3060.

They Went Over the (Black) River to Run for the Red (Cross)

Annual Fundraiser Draws Dozens of Participants

Despite gray skies and frosty temperatures, more than 80 runners and walkers turned out for the 2016 Run for the Red 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, April 23.  The event was held at the Bur Oak Pavilion in the Black River Reservation of the Lorain County Metro Parks.

Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

The top three finishers for men and women in various age groups received medals to commemorate their accomplishments.  Regional Major Gifts Officer Pam Zoltowicz had the honors of handing out the awards.  See the results of the run here.

Lara Kiefer, Executive Director of the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter participated, along with her husband Joe and son Grant, who won the male 20-29 category, finishing the 3.1 mile run in 24:33.  He ran at a pace of under eight minutes per mile.  This was his first 5K.

The Red Cross thanks Moose Lodge 778 in Elyria and Nordson Corporation for their sponsorship of the 2016 Run for the Red.

Log onto redcross.org/neo to keep up to date with future fundraisers and other events, or to donate funds, blood, or to volunteer.

 

Greater Cleveland Heroes Honored

A psychiatric nurse who puts his life on the line to treat his patients.

A FirstEnergy Meter Reader who used his first aid training to help a severely injured man.

A U. S. Army Colonel who commands a medical unit responsible for working in combat zones.

A Patient Navigator who helps adolescent and young adult patients recover from cancer.

A Coast Guard pilot who rescued a mariner after his sailboat was smashed on the Fairport Harbor break wall.

A Cleveland Police Detective and two Patrol Officers who administered life-saving aid to an injured man.

And a miniature horse who brings comfort and joy to hospitalized children.

The 2016 American Red Cross Greater Cleveland Hero Award winners were honored on Friday, March 11 during a luncheon ceremony at the First Merit Cleveland Convention Center.  More than 400 people helped pay tribute to the heroes.  They heard Regional CEO Mike Parks update Red Cross efforts to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. And they saw a video featuring the heroes telling their stories.

Sara Shookman, co-anchor of the 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM news on WKYC TV 3 hosted the ceremony.  Channel 3 News covered the event, along with WOIO and Fox 8.

In addition to the hero honorees, Dr. Akram Boutros, President and CEO of The MetroHealth System was presented with the Community Leader Award.

Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

Here are the 2016 Greater Cleveland Heroes:

Thomas Huggins, Visiting Nurse Association

Psychiatric nurse Thomas (Thom) Huggins of the Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio goes above and beyond to help people who are in emotional or mental torment.  Even when they first refuse his help.

Thom visits their homes repeatedly until the patients begin to trust him and to believe him when he tells them that their medication will help, and that their condition is not a sign of weakness.  He knows that if a patient’s mental health and stability improve, the patient’s life will be better and the entire community will benefit.

His courage and compassion have allowed hundreds, if not thousands of individuals to continue their journey to healthy, safe, and independent living.

“To see the spark start to the return to their eyes, that they get it, and to see them feel relief from their symptoms,” says Thom, “What could I ever do that would be better than being a part of that?”

David Bailey, First Energy Corp.

Dave Bailey, a Meter Reader at First Energy, was just finishing up a job at a home in Concord Township when he was approached by another man with a look of horror on his face. The man was a carpenter who was working nearby and had severely injured his hand with a saw. Dave took control of the situation. He recalled the emergency first aid training he received as part of his job.  Dave told the man to keep pressure on the wound to help control the bleeding, and helped keep him calm while they waited for emergency medical personnel to arrive. Dave then activated the emergency lights on his truck to help guide the ambulance crew to their location.

Dave, who is preparing to retire after 15 years with First Energy, is grateful he was able to help a fellow human being in need.

Col. Thomas Dundon, DDS, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Dr. Thomas Dundon is not only Chief of Dental Services at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center,  he is also a U. S. Army Colonel.  He has twice been deployed to war zones in the Middle East. Dr. Dundon has devoted his entire military and professional career to serving Army Reservists and Veterans, and is currently Commander of the 912th Dental Company.

Dr. Dundon was awarded the distinguished U.S. Army Bronze Star, a medal denoting meritorious achievement or service in a combat zone for his deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008.  Through his leadership as the Dental Commander for the entire northern region of Iraq, Dr. Dundon helped more than 12,000 coalition forces and civilians receive quality dental care.

In addition to his military deployments, Dr. Dundon has led numerous dental teams on humanitarian missions to impoverished areas throughout the world, improving access to dental care for thousands of people.

Amelia Baffa, UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

Adolescents and young adults with cancer can face unique challenges.  They are often caught between pediatric and adult oncology. The medical and social needs of these patients often differ from the needs of infants, younger children and adults.

Amelia Baffa recognizes the challenges these patients face as a Patient Navigator for teen and young adult cancer patients at the Angie Fowler Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Institute at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

She is nationally recognized for her efforts to develop fertility preservation programs for this age group.

Prior to her role as an adolescent and young adult (AYA) Patient Navigator, Amelia was a driving force behind the transformation of blood conservation at the hospital. The standards and guidelines she helped create limited unnecessary pediatric blood transfusions.  She then went on to help other children’s hospitals develop and implement similar programs.  The impact of her efforts has been significant across the country.

Harry Ramsey, United States Coast Guard

Winds were whipping up waves on Lake Erie after sunset on October 8th, when a distress call was received: a sailboat was in danger of smashing into the Fairport Harbor break wall. The seas were 6-9 feet with winds exceeding 20 knots, as a Coast Guard response boat, piloted by Boatswain’s Mate Harry Ramsey arrived. The sailboat did indeed hit the break wall and was taking on water. Despite the extremely challenging weather conditions, and the dangerous proximity to the break wall, Petty Officer Ramsey expertly maneuvered the Coast Guard vessel to rescue the boater from his sinking sailboat.  He executed the transfer flawlessly.

The Coast Guard credits Boatswain’s Mate Harry Ramsey’s bravery, professionalism, and dedication for saving the life of the boater, and preserving the lives of his crew.

Detective John Graves, Patrol Officer Theresa Cavett, Patrol Officer Matthew Cavanaugh, Cleveland Division of Police

Police aren’t often called to chase down someone in need of medical attention.  But it happened one night in December 2015, when Detective John Graves was the first on the scene of a serious car crash on Cleveland’s near west side. Witnesses said a bleeding man ran from the crash. Detective Graves spotted him and gave chase on foot, finally apprehending the man in a yard nearby. He had severe arm and leg wounds.  Arriving on the scene, Officer Matthew Cavanaugh applied a tourniquet to the injured leg, utilizing his recent first-aid training. Officer Theresa Cavett used the man’s belt as a tourniquet on his arm, and tried to keep him from going into shock. Emergency Medical personnel then took man to a nearby hospital, where doctors said a bullet had hit the man’s femoral artery, and that he would have died without the officers’ quick and competent medical attention.

Petie the Pony, Victory Gallop Therapeutic Riding School

Petie the Pony has been bringing joy into the lives of children for nearly 20 years.  He visits patients at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, offering a form of therapy that no doctor or drug can match.  His big brown eyes and his soft muzzle offer warmth and kindness to every child he meets.  He is never impatient, and always finds a way to break through the barrier of pain or sickness to bring joy to children.

Preparing Petie is no easy task.  His handlers Sue Miller, Kim Gustely and Toril Simon of Victory Gallop, a therapeutic horseback riding school, must go through a painstaking procedure to be sure he meets the hospital’s cleanliness standards.  Petie must then negotiate a revolving door and an elevator to access patient rooms.  But the visible joy he brings to a child who hasn’t smiled in weeks is a gift well worth the effort.