Red Cross "Real Heroes" Recognizes Teens for Helping Man

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

The Red Cross will recognize ordinary people with heroic stories to tell during Tuesday evening's Real Heroes program.

The award dinner honors real people in the community and benefits the chapter.

"We were driving to Monticello to go see a friend of ours play in a basketball game," Kellen Haines, a former Memorial High School student, says.

Instead, four high school seniors saw a man on the side of the road.
"Right away, we saw something was wrong. His clothes were soaking wet," another student, Emily Gage, says.

The group's split second decision to stop and help earned Gage, Haines and two other friends an award from the Red Cross.

Pam Moen from the Badger Chapter of the Red Cross says, "the real heroes program is about recognizing ordinary people for extraordinary actions in a time of need."
At the time, a man named Michael Rivers needed a warm, helping hand.
Gage says, "it was above zero but not by too much. I remember the roads we're really icy."

Earlier on that December night in 2003, Rivers traveled the same route but his car slid on ice, then plunged into a lake.

Moen says, "he had been, as we understand it, out in those freezing temperatures and soaking clothing for 20 minutes and up to 15 drivers passed him by."

Until the group of teens passed by.

"If we hadn't stopped, sure, the next car might have stopped but you never really know," Gage says.

Gage, Haines and the rest of the group offered Rivers a warm car, the jackets they had and the comfort of company.

Gage says they talked to him to make sure he was all right.

Now, the local chapter of the American Red Cross has awarded the four teens a Real Hero Award.

Haines says, "I would like to think anybody in our situation would've done same thing. I would like to think that."

March is Red Cross month. The annual Real Heroes program is the Badger Chapter's biggest fundraiser of the year.

The chapter expects to raise more than $50, 000.

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