The Rotary Club of Charlotte honored four people Tuesday who performed outstanding, and in some cases, life-saving actions.
The honorees were selected by four first-responder agencies in Mecklenburg: the Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, the Charlotte Fire Department and Medic, the county’s paramedic service. The heads of each agency announced the winners.
Tuesday was the first time the Rotary Club has sought to honor everyday heroes. The club started a scholarship fund for the children of first responders in 2003 and has doled out more than $600,000.
Tuesday’s honorees were:
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• Caitlin Kuhn was with her brother, Jeremy, at their parents’ house when he went into cardiac arrest. The family called 911, and a telecommunicator gave Caitlin instructions on how to perform CPR, according to the nomination from Medic. She continued giving CPR until paramedics arrived, saving her brother’s life. Jeremy Kuhn, a teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School, was released from the hospital 12 days later.
• Bill Staton, a volunteer at the Mecklenburg jail for the past five years, helped start a program that helps inmates get a certificate of entrepreneurship from Queens University. Staton traveled to Houston at his own expense to learn about a similar program by Baylor University. He was motivated by inmates who said it’s hard to get a job after being released from prison. Staton was nominated by the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office.
• Corey Blocker, 8, jumped into a pool at the Waterford Lakes Apartment complex in July to rescue a toddler who’d fallen in. Corey took the toddler to his mother, who performed CPR until the child began breathing again. “Mr. Blocker put himself at risk to save the life of someone else,” according to the nomination from CMPD. “Without Mr. Blocker’s actions, the toddler may not have been rescued in time.”
• Karen Hefner, a senior citizen nutritionist specialist for Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, realized that many seniors don’t have a working smoke or carbon monoxide detector in their homes. She identified more than 600 seniors who needed detectors and worked with the Charlotte Fire Department to install them while DSS delivered meals. The fire department nominated her.