As she received an award for helping save the life of a man injured in a traffic accident, Schar Oswald said she wasn't a hero.
"I really think the hero is Mr. Sorber. I didn't think that day that he was going to live," she said in a poignant and emotional moment. "He just kept talking about his wife and two children and the unbelievable love he had for them.
"The real heroes are Mr. and Mrs. (Robert) Sorber. He taught me a lesson that day and how we should value what we have," Oswald said.
Oswald and Adrienne Ford, who also came to the aid of Sorber last June after his motorcycle collided with a bus filled with youngsters in Edinburg, were honored by the Portage County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
They and eight others were honored as Real Heroes Saturday morning at the Kent State University Ballroom. Other honorees were Jennifer Menendez, Dr. David Snyder, Lt. Dale Nething, Beth Rasey, Rachel Krych, Annette and Russell Fisher, and Joe Ballentine.
Heroes were honored for coming to the aid of strangers involved in traffic accidents, or for caring for abandoned, injured or abused animals, and for reaching out to young people to help them navigate through the dangers facing teenagers today.
For Jennifer Menendez, her selfless act has continuing impact.
"This experience has changed my life," she said.
"To have something so tragic occur and have something special come out of it," is amazing, she said. Menendez turned back to check out a car on the side of the road last October, and found a young woman trapped in a wreck. It turned out that Menendez and the young woman in the car, Amber Dowdy of Ravenna, both worked at the Hattie Larlham school in Shalersville. They didn't know each other until then, but since have become friends. "I'll always have a special bond with Amber," Menendez said upon receiving her award.
Dowdy, her mother Susan Dowdy and grandmother Sally Viall, were on hand to express their gratitude to Menendez. A senior at Field High School, Dowdy is still recovering from her injuries. She still has a limp with her left foot, which was crushed and trapped by her wrecked car.
Viall said she was thankful for Menendez, who stopped to help, and for Dowdy's many friends from school who drove to the Cleveland hospital and waited for word about their friend.
Many of the honorees said they weren't the only ones who deserved honors. Beth Rasey said she and Rachel Krych, honored for their work with area high school students, said, "Rachel and I feel a bit guilty about the award. How many people get paid to go ice skating with a bunch of teenagers?"
Lt. Dale Nething of Charlestown, who rushed to the aid of victims in a fiery multiple vehicle crash last November, said there were other people who came to help and then left without being identified.
Dr. David Snyder, an area chiropractor who has formed an organization that takes volunteers annually to the Dominican Republic to help at orphanages and schools, reminded the audience, "When you are in the service of your fellow man, you are in the service of your God."
In addition to the Real Hero awards, the Red Cross chapter also award its annual Philos Award to Charles Abraham, owner of Charles Chevrolet in Garrettsville. Abraham made a $5,000 lead donation to the chapter to start off its fund for new vehicles.
Abraham said he has found "a good way to live" epitomized in the words of a plaque he has in his office. "It is called 'Opportunity.' I hope I have managed to live by it. It says 'I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can do, let me do it now. Let me not be neglectful, because I shall not pass by this way again."
Del Donahoo of Channel 3 in Cleveland was master of ceremonies.
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