The night after Red Cross volunteers instantly set up nine emergency “bomb cyclone” blizzard shelters for more than 700 stranded motorists and residents without power March 13, guests and honorees were at Broadmoor West for the ninth annual Colorado Springs Red Cross Hometown Heroes Dinner at Broadmoor West.

No need to delay the heroes’ dinner, because the blizzard response “is just what we do and have done since 1914,” said staff and board members.

The honored Humanitarian of the Year, Bill Tutt, said this was “just how the Red Cross can respond immediately when Mother Nature calls.” This is why volunteers are so vitally important, Tutt said, calling them “the saints of service.”

“There are 700 area Red Cross volunteers,” he said, “200 of them are military.”

Hometown Heroes honored were the Go Team Therapy, Crisis and Airport Dogs; Staff Sgt. Branden Smithwick, Airman 1st Class Anthony Bustamante and Airman 1st Class Matthew Huff; CSPD Officer Clay Sunada; AFA Cadet C1C Kristen Nye; property manager Jerrell Jinkins; and Shield 616. Palmer Lake Elementary sixth-graders receiving Youth Hero were Tayla Bertrand, Makayla Coates, Greta Penner, Arianna Ponce, Emery Roher, Kate Ulmer and Danielle Wilke. Heroes who saved a friend’s life: Josh Rivera, Mike Perkins, Brian Cathey, Isiah Rivera, Charles Gilbert and Will Cathey.

More about their stories: tinyurl.com/y38ftm4x

Photo gallery: gazette.com/life/around-town

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