Red Cross honors 9 Southern Utahns for heroic service

Guests dine in the ballroom at the Gardner Center at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, March 27, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The American Red Cross honored some of the heroes of Southern Utah Thursday during their fourth annual awards presentation and luncheon held in the Ballroom at Dixie State University’s Gardner Center.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike was among the presenters along with radio personality and Canyon Media Vice President Carl Lamar.

Each Red Cross award winner had the opportunity to prerecord a short video clip about their service and what inspired them to get involved with the community. Following the video, they accepted their awards on stage.

2014 Red Cross Southern Utah heroes

Gerald Schiefer

Gerald Schiefer, who currently serves as Volunteer Fire Department Chief and an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician in Pine Valley, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gerald Schiefer receives the Lifetime Achievement award in the ballroom at the Gardner Center, Dixie State University, St. George News, March 27, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Gerald Schiefer receives the Lifetime Achievement award in the ballroom at the Gardner Center, Dixie State University, St. George News, March 27, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Schiefer was honored for his lifelong contributions and dedication to serving others, thereby having not only benefited the community of Pine Valley but the nation as well. Schiefer helped organize the crew that cut down acres of marijuana in Pine Valley.

Winning an award for doing things that you should do is “embarrassing,” Schiefer said. “It’s not about you (the individual), our responsibility is to help and give service. Life is about giving service to others, particularly the country, people need to understand the value of service for the country. To possess in your hearts a love for this country and service.”

“I was born in Zion National Park,” Schiefer said, “my dad was a ranger, we owned a lot of property up there, including the campground …. I won a full four-year scholarship to the University of Utah, and a $25 scholarship to Dixie … my father told me: ‘Go to Dixie,’ so that’s where I went.”

Leslee Henson

Leslee Henson of St. George received the Good Samaritan Award. After losing her husband to an accident caused by a person suspected of distracted driving, and overcoming her own injuries, Henson has led the campaign to alert the public to distracted driving.

Henson and her husband were on a walk when they were struck by a vehicle whose driver was allegedly texting when the accident occurred. (The driver, Carla Lynn Brennan, pleaded not guilty to the charge of vehicular homicide. Brennan’s trial is presently set for April 23.)

Henson has since led the Stop the Text, Stop the Wrecks community awareness program.

She was honored for her courage and commitment in the face of adversity, ultimately resulting in saving other lives.

Jay Rosenblum

Jay Rosenblum of St. George received the Educator Award for the Community Emergency Response Team program he created in 2009 for the active retirement community of SunRiver.

“I’m very overwhelmed in receiving this award,” Rosenblum said. “I’ve had help from a lot of people. If I have good people working for me, I’m successful.”

“As I try to tell people I’m just trying do something I love for the community I love,” Rosenblum said. “I’ve always been involved in volunteer service.”

He created this program as a responsive act when someone asked him to pull the group together. If he could change one thing about his service he said, “I wish I had more than 24 hours in a day.”

To the younger community, Rosenblum’s advice is to “get involved, volunteer in something you have a passion for,” he said.

Jerry Yurek

Jerry Yurek, currently completing his term as director of Southern Utah Harley Owners Group, received the Community Service award for bringing together the community of motorcycle riders and leading countless fundraisers to benefit the community.

Ron Lewis

Steve Ikuta receives the Preparedness award at the Gardner Center, Dixie State University, March 27, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Steve Ikuta receives the Preparedness award at the Gardner Center, Dixie State University, March 27, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Ron Lewis, who after 27 years of military service retired as a Naval captain in 1991, received the military award. Lewis went to Vietnam four different times in four different ships and he talked about how many Americans are unaware of the significance  of the black and white POW MIA flag. His commitment is to bring home all missing in action soldiers.

Steve Ikuta

Steve Ikuta, manager of Intermountain Healthcare’s Southwest Regional Emergency Management Program, of St. George received the Preparedness Award for his revolutionary commitment to spreading and educating the community-at-large in emergency preparedness.

Ikuta recalled a moment where he witnessed his teachings come into fruition.

“There was one of our employees that took their family to Disneyland and the fire alarm went off late one night,” he said. “He said he remembered what Steve taught him to do. He was able to find the emergency exits and guide his family safely out.”

“It was a great honor to be a receiver, it gives me a heartfelt feeling of accomplishment,” Ikuta said.

Walking away after being awarded for his service, he said, “it deepens my passion for what I do. Terry Cain, the CEO challenged all of us one day, asked us what will be your legacy. My legacy is emergency preparedness.”

Jake Probert, Jared Wenn and Ryan Fowles

Jake Probert, Jared Wenn and Ryan Fowles received the Young Adult Award for each individually coming to the aid of Southern Utah University managerial economics professor, Joe Baker, after he suffered a heart attack after his noontime run. Together, Probert, Wenn, and Fowles saved Baker’s life.

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