Red Cross holds annual heroes celebration

By Wayne Allen

August 17, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross held its 15th annual Heroes Celebration Dinner on Thursday night at the SOMC Friends Center.

The event featured guest speaker Joe Harris, former Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross Executive Director and current Senior Director of Disaster Services, Finance Team for the American Red Cross. Also speaking was Judith Schnatz, American Red Cross Volunteer and State Nurse Leader for Ohio Health Services.

“Heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the consequences,” said Mary Arnzen, Executive Director of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.

After six years as the Executive Director of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, Arnzen will be resigning from the position, effective August 23.

Upon leaving her employment with the Red Cross, Arnzen will become Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Lead Donor Relations Coordinator.

“During her six-year tenure, Mary has transformed our local chapter of the Red Cross and dramatically improved our financial stability,” said Marty Redden, current board chair of the local Red Cross told those in attendance. “She has overseen services to 1,872 disaster clients, trained 7,204 individuals in lifesaving skills, provided $328,235 in disaster assistance, collected 20,340 units of blood and provided 419 emergency messages to local service members in combat.”

Arnzen will remain active with the local Red Cross as a volunteer.

During the event, Sue Hatten was honored as the Scioto County Red Cross Blood Hero. The Pike County Red Cross Blood Hero was Arvil Murray and Paul Sites was the Jackson County Blood Hero.

This year’s first aid hero was the Porter Township EMS, Dr. Eric McDonald and Southern Ohio Medical Center.

This year’s fire hero was the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team.

This year’s fundraising hero was Girl Scout Troop 2123 in Waverly. The Pike County Health Coalition was named the Pike County Community Hero and The Scioto County Health Coalition was named this years Scioto County Community Hero. This year’s Veterans Hero was Mike Bell.

When Harris was the local director of the Red Cross he, along with others, created the annual heroes event.

During the program Harris was given the opportunity to address those in attendance.

He announced this year’s Marcia Sanderlin Hero award recipient as Vicki Hatcher, for her involvement in many community activities.

Sanderlin, Hatcher’s sister, was able to phone into the event to talk to Hatcher as it was announced she was receiving the award.

“When we created this event we were really tired of seeing the local media tell all of the bad stories about the Portsmouth Area. So, I met with the folks from the Community Common and the Daily Times and said there has to be some good news at some point and they agreed and were involved with the event for many years,” Harris said.

Harris expressed his appreciation to the local Red Cross Chapter and the community for keeping the annual event alive. He also encouraged those in attendance to get involved with the local Red Cross.

“I would urge you think about the residents of the east coast last year before Superstorm Sandy hit. They never dreamed that it (Sandy) would bring down the east coast the way it did. The seven sets of parents who sent their young child to the end of their school in Moore, Okla. thought they would come home that afternoon, they didn’t,” Harris said “My team is in Oklahoma this week passing out a half a million dollars ($500,000) in gift cards to educators so they can restock their rooms. It could happen here folks. We need to be prepared. It does not take a hero to be someone who is concerned about a neighbor in need,” Harris said.

During her address Schnatz spoke of times when she has been deployed with the Red Cross to National Disasters and the impact the experience has had on her life.

For more information about the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross call 740-354-3293.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.