Red Cross honors heroes
OTTUMWA — The Southern Prairie Chapter of the American Red Cross celebrated its 2014 Heroes of the Heartland Friday at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa.
The 2014 Heroes of the Heartland include Ashley Hale-Smith, Jim and Darla Jackson, Josh Chance, Jim and Karen Dellinger and Jeff Hendred.
Ashley Hale-Smith was driving home from work at Jefferson County Health Center in July when she saw a truck crash and burst into flames in front of her.
Hale-Smith ran to the truck where the driver handed her the fire extinguisher. She put out the fire and then helped the driver and his injured wife until the ambulance arrived.
Later, Mandy LaShay Edwards wrote: “My name is Mandy Edwards. My husband is Scott Edwards. We were involved in a rollover accident in Batavia, Iowa. We would like to thank those people who assisted. One lady named Ashley stayed with me the whole time and stabilized my neck. Thanks to her. I am not paralyzed because my neck was broken.”
Since their retirement from the Ottumwa community schools, Jim and Darla Jackson have dedicated themselves to the dogs and cats in their community.
The Jacksons are enthusiastic supporters of Heartland Humane Society. They are active volunteers and served as board members for many years. They are at Heartland Humane Society feeding, cleaning and caring for the animals on an almost daily basis. They serve as spokespersons for Heartland Humane Society and often spend time raising money for the facility.
At their church, Trinity Episcopal, the Jacksons have served in almost every capacity. Additionally, they worked the men’s homeless shelter and prepared meals for Hospice House.
The Jacksons also are devoted to their children, grandchildren and extended family.
Ottumwa firefighter Josh Chance started a program called Sparky Claus, with a goal to collect toys, bicycles and other holiday gifts for children in need in Wapello County. After observing a number of elementary school children who did not have adequate winter clothing, Chance expanded the outreach of the program. He now has school administrators contact him when there is a need for boots, coats, mittens and hats.
Chance’s program has been so successful that he is helping start similar programs in other communities through their local fire departments.
Jim and Karen Dellinger have turned a passion for running into service. While training for and running and biking in events like the Boston Marathon and RAGBRAI, Jim Dellinger is active on the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure committee, including being race director and achieving certification for the race course.
He also been chairman of the board of John Deere Credit Union, chairman of the board Hospice Wapello and Davis County, served as a committee member for the Charles Fahrney Education Foundation Scholarship Committee and serves hospice as the “on-call” maintenance provider. He has been honored as Hospice Iowa volunteer of the year.
Karen Dellinger is equally dedicated to the community. She taught preschool at Montessori Preschool for 25 years and ran the preschool at Wesley United Methodist for six years. She is active in Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and assisted the Ottumwa schools with scoring of the Writing Assessment. Additionally, she worked with Festival of Trees for 15 years and volunteered with Hospice of Wapello and Davis County for many years. She cooks the noon meal once a week and does the weekly grocery shopping for hospice. She has been recognized as Hospice Volunteer of the Year. Karen Dellinger has been active in Kings Daughters and the Ottumwa Women’s Club for many years.
Together, the Dellingers have volunteered in the Ottumwa public schools listening to children read at Douma and James elementary.
Jeff Hendred created a children’s bus ministry that reaches 50-75 underprivileged kids each week. His ministry teaches skills for better life choices.
Hendred grew up in Ottumwa and became a teacher and administrator in the Ottumwa public schools. He is currently principal at Horace Mann Elementary, working with young people every day teaching, mentoring and leading by example.
His friends, family and co-workers say his biggest attribute is that he truly cares about people, especially children.
Hendred also serves on several different boards, including the Legacy Foundation.