12 honored at Red Cross Heroes Breakfast

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The American Red Cross honored 12 heroes for their service and selflessness Wednesday morning.

Each Red Cross hero dedicated their life in different ways to help build a better community across Northern Illinois and Chicago areas, where these people have made a huge difference.

"To receive this award and be up here right now is very special," Marqus Valentine said.

Marqus and Ashley Valentine, a brother and sister from Lisle, were named this year's blood service heroes for their tireless effort to promote awareness of sickle cell anemia. Marqus was diagnosed with the disease as a small child, but overcame the odds and now, at 35, is dedicated to helping others with sickle cell.

"I want to thank the Red Cross for giving us the award and giving the sickle cell community visibility. We have a renewed energy," Ashley Valentine said.

The heroic police officer who prevented a school shooting in Dixon was also honored. Officer Mark Dallas Day's bravery led him to take down an 18-year-old shooter, armed with a long gun, as he fired shots inside of the school.

Officer Day's quick thinking saved dozens of lives.

"That day, with the grace of God and the training that I had changed things," Officer Day said. "It could have been devastating that morning."

Chicago Firefighter and EMT Dan Ramos was honored after he risked his own life to save others from a burning home, running through flames and toward danger to rescue a woman from the blaze, something he said is just part of his job.

The Red Cross helps more than 9.5 million people every year and still needs volunteers. For information on volunteering, visit www.redcross.org/local/illinois/chicago-and-northern-illinois.html.
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