On October 17, the FBI Citizens Academy Foundation (FBICAF) recognized the amount of good the American Red Cross – and other organizations – of Northeast Ohio does for its 4.5 million residents. In a show of recognition and appreciation, the Disaster Services Team was given the FBICAF Unsung Hero Award; a great honor for hometown heroes.
With an average of 2.5 house fires a night, the Disaster Services Team is always available for each emergency and to help neighbors in need of assistance. The team reports to the scene of a single home fire, flood, chemical spill, tornado damage, or other disasters. But they do not only address these types of situations. During the Polar Vortex in early 2014, the severity of the weather caused schools and businesses to be shut down, but not the Red Cross. The Red Cross opened up warming centers that operated across Northeast Ohio, where people were provided with a place of shelter and warmth.
The FBI Citizens Academy Foundation’s Unsung Hero Award requires nominees to display extraordinary effort in assisting victims. The award is given to any person, community service, or agency that takes victims out of bad situations and gives them hope for their future. The ceremony offered two other awards as well. The Citizen Hero Award was given to Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a youth empowering organization. The Safety Forces Hero Award was awarded to the Shaker Heights Police Department.
A special thanks to the Ganley Auto Group, who donated a table to the Red Cross that allowed more people to attend the ceremony. In attendance were Pat Buckhold, Debra Kellar, Tony Rivera, Tina Buckingham, Ron Baumberger, Linda Taylor, Gene McCray, Amy Gibson, Gail Hanes, Marge DeCastro, Diane Homza-Dacek, Kevin Jones, Ramona Lucas, Richard Lucas and Josie Rivera-Lough.