Honoring Local Heroes

By WBNG News

May 17, 2012 Updated May 17, 2012 at 6:04 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The American Red Cross honors local heroes for selfless acts that resulted in saving a life.

It also recognized the countless faces in 2011 who responded to neighbors in need during the floods.

"The hero is just being the person who has that selfless approach to make that impact on other. It's not just saving people it's saving lives, families and communities," says Red Cross Spokesperson, Brian Boyle.

Like Sidney Central teachers Megan O'Sullivan and Jim Karl, who saved the life of a student having a seizure in the school pool.

While one teacher stayed with the student, the other called 911 for help.

They're just two of the dozens of first responders, military members or neighbors honored at the Real Heroes breakfast.

Keynote speaker Brian Boyle shared his personal story of how a hero can be someone who just donates blood.

"Those 36 units of blood saved my life," says Boyle.

After a car crash in 2004, Boyle suffered damage to every major organ in his body, multiple broken bones, and had 60% overall blood loss.

He spent months in the hospital working on getting well enough to go home.

As he regained his strength he took on bigger goals, like finishing Iron man competitions, Triathlon, and Marathons, always wearing a Red Cross jersey.

"It's representing the blood donors, the volunteers, the Red Cross, the supporters, the heroes, we're all on the same team. We're all fighting the same fight," says Boyle.

"He has gone on to share his story and how the people across America have helped him live through their donations of blood," says Southern Tier Chapter Executive, Shelley Bierwiler.

Boyle is living proof that heroes do more than save lives.

"The people, and the stories that you hear and what you encounter, you understand what the definition of what a hero is," says Boyle.

Thursday's recognition honors their courageous services, and encourages others to follow their example.

13 individuals were honored in 11 different "hero" categories at Thursday mornings breakfast.

The Community Good Samaritan Award honored everyone who went above and beyond to answer the call during last years floods throughout the Southern Tier.