Horn and Eli Cole
There are heroes
among us. Every year, at its Brave Hearts Awards celebration, the
Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross makes sure
that they do not go unnoticed.
The Brave Hearts
Awards recognize the life-saving achievements of people who have
stepped up under extraordinary circumstances to come to the aid of
others. The 2013 honorees, in six categories, have all had their
mettle tested in life-threatening situations and prevailed. The Hero
of the Year, Cristal Wilson, is just 10 years old.
receive their awards at the Brave Hearts: Heroes Among Us event on
Thursday, April 18, at Milwaukee Fire Department Engine 23, 2130 W.
Oklahoma Ave. The event begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., with a
dinner and program beginning at 6:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $75
per person and tables are also available. For more information on the
event, visit www.redcross.org/wi/milwaukee.
Ochowicz-Sczesny with son David.
Safety, Security and Resiliency Award
When her son,
David, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer four years ago, Mary
Ochowicz-Sczesny knew what she had to do. David, who was then 16,
needed a bone marrow transplant. Within three weeks, she worked with
the American Red Cross and the Delete Blood Cancer organization to put
together Davidís Donor Drive.
registered 255 new potential bone marrow donors, and 13 people who
needed a transplant found their match.
expect Davidís donor to walk in that day," she says. "Our
intention was to help families in the same situation." Subsequent
Davidís Donor Drives have registered hundreds more.
While David and
his family were anxiously waiting for a match, Ochowicz-Sczesny
learned that she had breast cancer. A few weeks later, a match was
found for David.
extensive treatment, both mother and son are cancer survivors and
Ochowicz-Sczesny works with women who are newly diagnosed with breast
what has helped me go through it," she says, "helping others
through their darkest days."
Amanat SinghOak Creek
When a lone
gunman began to attack the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on Aug. 5, 2012,
siblings Abhay Singh, 11, and Amanat Singh, 9, were playing outside.
At first Amanat and her brother froze with fear, according to news
reports, but then ran inside to warn everyone inside the temple about
Because of their
quick thinking, many in the temple were able to take cover. Abhay and
Amanat made it to the kitchen pantry and hid with a group of women for
more than two hours.
nomination of the children for the Brave Hearts Award, Pardeep Kaleka,
son of the slain temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka, says both
Amanat and Abhay are heroes.
"If not for
them warning others, many more lives would have been lost that
day," says Pardeep Kaleka, "including my motherís."
Oak Creek Police
Lt. Brian Murphy
says he remembers everything about the day he took 15 bullets trying
to stop the perpetrator at the Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek last
||Amy Rowell and
Murphy was the
first officer on the scene and distracted the shooter, who was headed
for a pantry where terrified Sikhs were huddled. Two of the bullets
aimed at Murphy were stopped by his body armor, but the rest hit.
Seven people, including the shooter, died in the tragedy.
Murphy, who is
still recovering, says, "You do the things youíre trained to
do. Youíre in basic survival mode."
The entire Sikh
community "has been so supportive," he says. "Everybody
is left just to simply ask why."
Cole and Roy Horn
About 1:40 p.m.
on July 16, 2011, veteran Officers Cole and Horn were on patrol near
27th and Burleigh streets. Officer Brent Miscichoski put out a call
for assistance as he chased a man on foot in the 3300 block of North
30th Street. The incident began when Miscichoski allegedly saw the man
toss something over a fence.
"We were en
route when the call came out that a shot was fired," Horn says.
They arrived less than a minute later and saw that the man Miscichoski
had been chasing had been shot in the torso, Horn says. According to
police, Miscichoski and the man had gotten into a scuffle over
Miscichoskiís service weapon.
and I went to the person who was down," Cole recalls. "Roy
reached him first, and I grabbed the First Aid equipment."
Cole and Horn
were able to stem the bleeding and keep the man calm until paramedics
arrived moments later. Miscichoski had scratches and bruises from the
"At the end
of the day," Horn says, "Weíre still here to protect
Both Cole and
Horn are military veterans. Cole served in the U.S. Marine Corps and
Horn served in the U.S. Army.
from Marquette University intending to be a teacher, but Amy Rowell
soon learned that her true calling was animal rescue work.
Rowell says she
was inspired by the Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha to start
an adoption program for Milwaukeeís strays. In 2005, she became the
founder and executive director of the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center
time, there was no agency dedicated to helping animals coming out of
animal control," she says. "Weíve placed over 3,500
animals that would have otherwise been euthanized." She has spent
many all-nighters caring for cats and dogs that suffered complicated
pregnancies and deliveries.
entirely by fundraising and private donations, the center also does
significant educational programming for children and teens. Rowell
says one of her favorite animals is Daniel, the centerís mascot.
Daniel, a cat who has 26 toes, starred in a video that went viral.
People who were touched by Daniel sent in $26 donations, and soon
$80,000 was raised for a new facility to house the organization.
Hero of the Year
10, has been through the Milwaukee Fire Departmentís Survive Alive
House twice, but never guessed that what she learned there might
someday save her life and the life of her 3-year-old sister, Kali.
heard her father shout, "Thereís a fire!" she ran
upstairs, in the direction of the fire, to find her sister, who was in
an attic-level room. Cristal says the lessons learned at Survive Alive
helped her as she made her way through thick smoke.
to stay near the ground. When I got my baby sister I kind of crouched
down to the floor," Cristal says. "There was a lot of smoke
coming, so I couldnít really see. I used the back of my hand to see
if the door was hot. It wasnít, so we just ran."
By the time
Cristal and Kali made it out the back door, windows were exploding
from heat, and flames were licking the roof. A man died in the fire,
caused by careless use of smoking materials, but Cristal and Kali were
proud of her," says her mother, Carla Wilson.