6th annual Celebration of Heroes luncheon in southwest Virginia


A very special luncheon was held in Abingdon to recognize a group of local heroes Thursday.

The 6th annual Mountain Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross’ Celebration of Heroes was held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center and honored local heroes for using their First Aid, CPR, AED training and/or other actions to save lives or make our community a better place to live and work. 

“We’ve got people that are law enforcement heroes, fire fighter heroes, education heroes, community impact heroes and Red Cross heroes. We’ve got all sorts of folks, we have 20 different hero awards that we are going to be handing out today,”, Mountain Empire Chapter Executive Director Bill Grennell said, “And we’re very excited because some of the people that are here today have done some amazing and wonderful things to make life a little bit better and a little bit more comfortable for the people in our communities.”

The Mountain Empire Chapter serves the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise & Wythe and the cities of Bristol, Galax and Norton.

“These are people who aren’t going out looking for recognition.  They’re not people who are seeking the limelight.  These are people who have been nominated because of the good work they do.  By some friends or family or a neighbor.  Sometimes even anonymously, and they just want to recognize someone for doing good in our community,”, Grennell said.

Since July 1, 2018, the Mountain Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross has responded to 135 disasters, helping 396 people and providing over $82,500 in immediate disaster relief. Most of their immediate relief goes toward helping families that have suffered a home fire.

Grennell added, “The funds that we raise from this through our sponsorships go directly to our local disaster relief efforts. And, in this particular area, we have about 175 a year, which is about one every other day. And we end up doing a little over $100,000 of immediate disaster relief for those families that we help.”

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