CEDAR FALLS | Three youngsters who rescued a woman from a dog attack and two Waterloo police officers who saved five children from a burning house were among many local heroes honored this morning.
Several individuals who have saved or bettered lives in the Cedar Valley over the past year received Heroes Among Us awards in a ceremony this morning at the Hilton Garden Inn.
The event is a fundraiser for the Covenant Foundation Inc. and the Sartori Health Care Foundation Inc.
Other recipients varied from individuals who helped new immigrants, veterans and young people by raising their environmental awareness.
- Tanner Cornwell, Karon Bennett and William McNealy of Waterloo received the Youth Good Samaritan Award.
In late August, Tanner and Karon were home inside when they heard dogs barking, which they thought were fighting. Upon investigating, they found their friend William being attacked by three dogs. Tanner got his BB gun while Karon picked up a gutter downspout and starting hitting the dogs, freeing William.
Shortly thereafter they heard the dogs again and found them attacking a woman and faced down the dogs again with rain gutters and a BB gun. The dogs eventually ran away after the police showed up. The woman suffered more than 200 bites and was taken to the hospital but survived.
- Shawn Bram and Dustin Lindaman, both Waterloo police officers, are recipients of the Public Safety Award. They are 13- and 10-year veterans, respectively, of the Waterloo Police Department. Lindaman also served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
In March 2013, they saved five young children, ages 4 to 11, from a burning home in Waterloo. They were the first responders on the scene. The men ran into the burning home, checking rooms and sometimes getting as low as possible because of the smoke. They helped get everyone to safety.
- Ronda Eick of Waterloo received the Good Samaritan award. The Cedar Falls High School graduate works full time as one of the directors at the Western Home Communities and is a registered nurse.
She had just arrived at a local hotel for a reception when someone started screaming for help from the pool. A mother was lifting her unconscious 3-year-old daughter out of the water.
Eick immediately started CPR, performing it nonstop for at least two minutes. She rolled the child on her side, who then gasped for air and vomited. The girl is fine today because of Eick's efforts.
- Mike Brown and Mike Jenn received the Medical Hero award. Brown has been a Sartori Memorial Hospital paramedic for 18 years. Jenn has been a Sartori Memorial Hospital paramedic since 1985 and a Waterloo firefighter since 1986.
In March 2013 they responded to an accident at the Cedar Falls Industrial Park in which a truck had tipped because of a heavy slab of granite that was being unloaded, hitting one of the workers, who was found laying under the tipped truck. They went to work under the unstable truck to get the man to safety.
- Cynthia Grider of Cedar Falls won the Workplace Hero award. She has been a special education paraprofessional for the Cedar Falls School District for 11 years.
In November, she was in the lunchroom watching students when she saw a boy choking on some food. She performed the Heimlich maneuver on the boy, dislodging the food, and calmed him while waiting for his parent to arrive.
- Kandie Vaughn of Cedar Falls received the Military Hero award. She is a graduate of UNI. In February 2007 her stepson, Cedar Falls High School graduate Travis Vaughn, died in a Chinook helicopter crash while serving in the Army in Afghanistan.
Shortly after his death she began helping military families, wounded soldiers and veterans with anything they needed. She also created an annual “Shower of Gifts” every February in memory of her stepson, collecting donated items and taking them to the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.
- Diane Waychoff of Waterloo received the Community Service Hero award. She spent nearly all of last year welcoming newly immigrated Burmese population to the Cedar Valley, mainly through Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
When the associate pastor there asked her for help to set up a clothes closet for the Burmese, she followed through and also worked closely with the Black Hawk County Health Department to make sure the families had at least the very basics.
She personally rounded up furniture and beds for some of the families and took them to doctor appointments in Iowa City through horrible winter weather.
- Carol Boyce of Dysart received the Environmental Hero award. She teaches at the new Orange Elementary School.
She encouraged the school district and developer to create a “wetlands” there, which was not in the original plans. She uses the wetlands in her ongoing curriculum for kids to observe, track and report on animals and plants.