Red Cross Honors ‘Heroes of the Heartland’

Heroes of the Heartland breakfast. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Seven Iowans were recognized by the Iowa region of the American Red Cross at the Heroes of the Heartland breakfast Wednesday morning.

Their stories of heroism range greatly. Todd Joslin and his wife saved a family from their burning home. Sgt. Lori Neely with the Des Moines Police Department put together a program at East High School for food insecure families.

Hoss Tompkins administered CPR to coworker Bob Averill, who had a heart attack. Doctors say Tompkins saved Averill’s life.

“Well, it’s quite an honor. Wasn’t expecting it. Some of the stories told today, it’s like I don’t know if I rank up there with those people. But I was nominated, accepted it, and it’s an honor and I’m glad Bob’s here to be with me,” said Tompkins.

Averill said, “He gave me a second chance, what he did. If it hadn’t been for him I wouldn’t be here.”

Other honorees were Jeff Baatz and Scott and Jaxson Ross of Sanborn. Baatz was working with an intern under a truck when the intern’s hair got caught in machinery, tearing a portion of her scalp off. Baats and Scott Ross tended her wounds until an ambulance arrived. Jaxson Ross, Scott’s son, drew pictures to cheer up the woman and held a fundraiser to help with medical expenses.

Jeff Jones saved the life of a trucker having a heart attack. Jones, a sergeant in Motor Vehicle Enforcement for the Iowa DOT, had just inspected the man’s truck at a weigh station when the man went into cardiac arrest. Jones used an AED and CPR to keep the man alive before an ambulance could get there. The trucker recovered after quadruple bypass surgery.

The event is held in March because it’s designated as Red Cross Month by the president every year.