Meet the Six ‘Heroes of the Heartland’ Honored for Courage, Character

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Six Iowans received some special recognition Friday from the American Red Cross. They were honored as this year’s Red Cross “Heroes of the Heartland.”

The six heroes were highlighted as outstanding citizens who have demonstrated courage, compassion and unselfish character in the eyes of their neighbors and communities.

Hundreds gathered at Prairie Meadows to celebrate, honor and highlight their stories. The Red Cross said the event is an opportunity to hear the heroic stories that are happening throughout Iowa and to bring those stories to light.

Carl Burt, of Des Moines, jumped into action when his girlfriend’s mom had a seizure. Burt started doing chest compressions and after only two, she suddenly awoke. Burt is a jail service aid with the Polk County Jail.

Kelsey Devore, of Chariton, is only 12, but her brave actions saved her mother's life. Kelsey called 911 after her mother was shot outside their home.  Kelsey helped her mother recover by helping her use her wheelchair and a walker and made sure her mother took her medications.

Barb Jorgensen, of Harlan, saved her neighbor and her neighbor's son after smoke started pouring from the home. She beat on the windows until to two came out. The home did not have smoke alarms. The fire department said the man and his son like would have died from smoke inhalation if Barb did not take action.

Austin 'Trey' Rice, of Grimes, came to the rescue of a group of tubers who were trapped in floating debris on the Raccoon River. Rice jumped in the river to save a young boy was struggling to stay above water.

Meredith Wilharber, of Urbandale, was diagnosed with the disease that took her mother’s life, and she founded the "Blue Lips Foundation" to inspire awareness through education of the deadly Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

Finally, Joe Hogan was also recognized. You may remember him from a story Channel 13 did on his inspirational work last year. As Channel 13's Mike DaSilva found out, Hogan considers the very people he serves the real heroes of the heartland. Hogan founded the nonprofit Train to Inspire,to improve the quality of life for people with mental and physical disabilities.

Read more about these six heroes here.