GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

March 22, 2013

Red Cross honors Community Heroes

Rockport reverend, Manchester Essex trainer among honorees

It is inspiring to know that there are heroes in our community, people who will rush to someone’s aid in times of crisis or devote their lives to addressing problems that can’t be solved in a day.

This is the 11th year that the Red Cross has held a Community Heroes Breakfast, to honor those who have acted in service to others.

The event allows us to show our admiration for these individuals. It also assures us that the best qualities of human nature are alive and well and come from every walk of life.

This year’s honorees are being celebrated today at the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore in Danvers. Here’s a look at who they are and what they’ve done.

The Rev. Michael Duda

Humanitarian Hero

Over the past 30 years, the Rev. Michael Duda, who lives in Rockport and serves as pastor of First Church of Wenham, has dedicated himself to serving children — especially children at risk. He has worked as a YMCA group leader, a volunteer with Doctors and Medical Technicians in South America, and a chaplain to Endicott College students, in addition to serving on numerous boards and committees dedicated to helping troubled kids. Duda spent more than two decades as executive director of the Anchorage, a Beverly residential home for at-risk teens, building the organization and helping troubled teens. At the Essex County Community Foundation, he was the driving force behind an annual conference that improves collaboration among local organizations. And through Duda’s efforts, Family Promise, a nationwide interfaith network that helps homeless families, was established in the area.

Jill Levine and Paul Willis

Mission Into Action Heroes

Jill Levine, athletic trainer at Manchester Essex Regional High School, rushed to help a player who showed signs of distress during a basketball game last Sept. 10. Another spectator, Paul Willis of Hamilton, hurried to assist Levine on the court. While Willis tried to comfort the victim, Levine administered CPR and prepared to use a portable defibrillator if necessary. Due to the pair’s fast and knowledgeable response, the player, who was suffering cardiac arrest, was safely escorted to the hospital and enjoyed a good recovery.

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