MOUNT VERNON — Nine local “Heroes” were honored Tuesday morning when the Knox County Chapter of the American Red Cross conducted its annual Heroes Breakfast at Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene.
“It is a privilege to serve you, the Knox County community,” said local chapter president Kelly Brenneman to open the ceremony. “I hope that you will be inspired not only by the individuals that we are honoring, but by the vision of the American Red Cross in Knox County and our volunteers.”
The Knox County Air Force Junior ROTC presented the colors on stage as Jordan Shremshock sang the national anthem. The Rev. Marvin Haught gave the invocation, and breakfast was served.
Board chairman James Hobson introduced a video production showcasing the Disaster Services Program. Brenneman then recognized all of the volunteers, board members, staff members and blood donors this past year.
The recipient of the Youth Hero Award was Ian Whitaker. Ian was honored for his bravery and quick thinking to apply first aid measures he learned through Scouts, and his parents, to his grandfather, Douglas Whitaker, who fell at his home and was bleeding.
A second-grader at East Elementary School, Ian gave immediate care for his grandfather before calling 9-1-1.
“It is really impressive to find a young man who can remain calm, especially when dealing with a family member,” said Mount Vernon Fire Department EMS Coordinator Mike Cronin who responded to the 9-1-1 call. “He showed quite a bit of poise and maturity to be able to handle this sort of situation.”
“It made me feel good,” said Whitaker after accepting his award.
Vickie Sant then presented the Public Service Hero Award to Knox County Sheriff David Barber.
Barber began his career in 1972 as a police officer at the Mount Vernon Developmental Center, later taking on positions as chief of police in Centerburg, Knox County Sheriff’s deputy, detective, detective sergeant and lieutenant in charge of the detective division and later as Knox County Sheriff in 1992. Barber’s biggest challenge then occurred in 2010 when he led the investigation into the disappearance of Stephanie Sprang, Tina Herrmann, and Cody and Sarah Maynard. Barber was feted for his “compassionate, professional composure, often during difficult questions, making all of Knox County proud to have him as our spokesman and law enforcement leader. Sheriff Barber rose to the demands of each situation and became the voice of Knox County, always the professional.”