Red Cross Honors Local Heroes

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Police, Fire And Harbormaster News , Community events

Heroes recognized by the American Red Cross last week.  ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

HYANNIS As they do each year, the local chapter of the American Red Cross presented medals for heroism Friday, and a number of the honorees were from the Lower Cape.

Last July, Nauset Marine employee Olivia Underwood was cleaning a boat when she saw a sudden flash in a nearby boat. She rushed to find that a fire had ignited the clothes of her coworker, Joe Pires; without hesitating, she doused him with water and put the fire out, and then stayed with him while coworkers called 911. Pires sustained second degree burns to more than 35 percent of his body, but officials say Underwood's quick action helped save his life.

UPS driver Charles Cassella was on his route in Harwich when a woman came out of her apartment waving her arms and pointing to her throat. He stopped his truck and realized that the woman was choking and unable to breathe. Using his first aid training, Cassella performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman, then encouraged her to cough to continue dislodging the obstruction. He then continued on his route as if nothing had happened. Cassella was nominated for the award by Robert Sanders of the Harwich Fire Department.

Last August, Coast Guard Petty Officer Scott Hunter of Station Chatham was part of a crew dispatched to an accident near the entrance to Stage Harbor. The distress call was for a woman who had suffered severe leg trauma to both legs caused by a boat propeller. On arrival, Hunter used his belt as a tourniquet and provided life-saving first aid as part of a team that included the Coast Guard and the Chatham harbormaster's office.

Receiving the Community Impact Hero Award was former state senator Dan Wolf of Harwich, founder and CEO of Cape Air, and company President Linda Markham. The company employs 1,200 people and has been honored for its community service, social responsibility and environmental sustainability.