GALLIPOLIS — In a joint effort to recognize community members who have supported the region through good will and volunteerism, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune and the American Red Cross will sponsor a breakfast ceremony beginning at 7:30 a.m. Friday, June 22, at the Gallia County Senior Center located on Ohio 160 — the fourth annual ceremony of its kind. The breakfast is being held in honor of the recently named recipients of the 2012 Everyday Hero awards. This marks the third article in a series of four to recognize the individuals to be honored.
Kody Lambert — Good Samaritan Hero
All it took was a trip to Nationwide Children’s Hospital to change Kody Lambert’s life and the way he looked at the world. With the help of a basketball, he has made more than 100 dreams come true.
About three years ago, Lambert became very ill and was sent to the children’s hospital in Columbus for testing. While there, he was deeply affected by the children battling cancer and was determined to help in some way. His then-upcoming basketball shoot-a-thon seemed like a perfect opportunity.
Every year, the South Gallia boys basketball team holds a shoot-a-thon to help the players raise money to buy their shoes and T-shirts for the season. Sponsors donate a specified amount of money for every shot made out of 100. Instead of raising the suggested $4 in pledges per shot, Lambert raised $24.40 per shot and had $320 left over in extra T-shirts and basketball shoes. He received permission to return the equipment and gave it all to Kids ‘N Kamp, sending 32 children to camp that year.
Kids ‘N Kamp is a non-profit organization focusing on social, educational and emotional activities and counseling to children with cancer and their families.
“I wanted to give to an organization that encouraged kids to have fun. This organization really needed the help,” Lambert said.
After presenting Kids ‘N Kamp founder and executive director Beverly Circone with his contribution, he was immediately invited to help with the program’s basketball clinic. Lambert said he couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
The following year, Lambert put on his own shoot-a-thon for Kids ‘N Kamp, raising $791. He is an extraordinary young man with incredible perspective.
“Its not what I’m doing for them. It’s what these kids do for me,” said Lambert. “I’ve realized I am very lucky.”
Lambert will be a senior this year at South Gallia High School. He hopes to pursue a basketball scholarship and a career as an athletic trainer, and, of course, to continue to raise money for Kids ‘N Kamp.
For those interested in donating to Kids ‘N Kamp, please visit www.kidsnkamp.org.
Tommy Wright — Law Enforcement Hero
Tommy Wright has served the Gallia County area honorably for 27 years.
Not only has Wright worked as a part-time deputy for the Gallia County Sheriff’s department for eight years, he is currently chief of the District 2 Joint Volunteer Fire Department, which serves Guyan and Ohio townships.
The 25-member volunteer fire department works hard to continually make improvements and updates to their operation. In 2007, they rebuilt the Guyan department and, last year, were able to expand and build a satellite station in Ohio township.
The department also worked extremely hard to acquire the District 2 EMS First Response vehicle. The vehicle allows Wright and the other EMTs to be first on the scene of an emergency in the Mercerville and surrounding areas. The District 2 First Response team is able to assess a situation and provide basic care to injured parties until the EMS squad arrives.
Public support is critical for volunteer departments like District 2. They organize as many fundraisers as possible to earn money for continued improvements. This Saturday, June 23, the department will be holding a fish fry at the District 2 station, located at 120 Mercerville Road in Crown City.
During his time as a deputy, Wright has also been involved with the Marine Patrol Division of the Gallia County Sheriff’s Department. This division patrols and serves as a first responder to accidents and emergencies that may occur on the Ohio River.
Wright is a fine example of community leadership and service. He is considered by his peers to be polite, respectful and professional, always offering to lend a hand when it is needed.
Wright works as a heavy equipment operator, has two children, and has been married for 32 years to his wife, Karen.
David Clay — Blood Donor Hero
For more than 35 years, David Clay has been donating a very precious gift — his blood.
Since he was 18 years old, Clay has been donating the maximum amount. He remembers his father always giving blood, and it has always seemed like a natural thing to do. Since he started donating, he has given 25 gallons blood of to the American Red Cross to help those in need, and he is currently working on his twenty-sixth.
American Red Cross blood donors are able to give a maximum of six times per year or every 56 days. Recently, Clay has been giving blood as a Double Red Cell Donor. This process allows donors to give the same amount of blood only three times a year, by separating the red blood cells from the plasma, platelets and white blood cells. The Red Cross then keeps the red blood cells and returns the other components to the donor in a saline solution, allowing donors to safely give two units of blood instead of one.
Clay explains that this type of donation is ideal, if you are eligible, due to the time-saving benefits. Donors are able to give twice as much blood at once and can leave feeling better, due to the fact that all the liquid components of the blood are returned to the body.
Clay has no specific gallon goal in mind. He plans on giving the maximum amount every year, as long as he can. He sees it as a priceless gift and an important part of community service.
“There is just no substitute for blood if someone needs it,” Clay explained.
Clay works at Kyger Creek Power Plant and resides in Gallia County with his wife, Paula. He attends blood drives regularly at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and throughout the county.
For a list of upcoming American Red Cross blood drives or blood donation centers in Gallia County and the surrounding area, please contact the office at 740-446-8555 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.
Fran and Cliff Richie — Community Heroes
Cliff and Fran Richie stay pretty busy these days helping to give food, clothes and blood to those in desperate need.
In 2003, the New Life Lutheran Church Clothing Giveaway was organized, and after a friend suggested getting involved, the couple have been key players ever since. The semiannual clothing drive is based 100 percent on independent and business donations, focusing on clean and usable clothes, coats and shoes. A spring drive and an early fall drive help to equip children with school necessities. The Richies work alongside other volunteers for an entire week sorting and prepping all of the clothes for the 14-hour giveaway.
They are also involved with Bless the Children, a program started by the city and county schools that helps struggling parents give their child a very Merry Christmas. The Richies and other members of New Life Lutheran Church, along with members of Columbus’ Bexley Lutheran Church, buy new clothes, coats and a toy to give to parents. In 2011, approximately 160 children were served, helping to give nearly 66 families a happier, more joyful holiday.
For the third year in a row, the couple have been extremely proud to be involved with the Lutheran Social Services Mobile Food Pantry that visits Gallia County during the first Tuesday of every month at New Life Lutheran Church and during the third Tuesday of every month at Grace United Methodist Church.
“We see all ages and situations,” said Fran Richie. “The church members are part of the volunteers, and there are a lot of volunteers that come from outside of church. It’s all done with the utmost respect, kindness and compassion, and nobody leaves hungry.”
From 2010-2011, more than 100,000 pounds of food were brought to New Life Lutheran Church, alone, serving nearly 1,400 families. To be eligible to receive food at the mobile pantry, recipients must live in the county and be registered a week in advance via the toll-free number. Those interested can call 1-877-704-3663.
The Richies have also volunteered their time to the Red Cross blood drives that take place at New Life Lutheran Church every Saturday of every other month, helping to provide food for the donors and volunteers.
Fran and Cliff Richie have spent years helping others, and serve as outstanding examples of selflessness and caring. When describing why they do what they do, Fran humbly says, “You just see things that need to be done, and you do it. If everyone one would do just a little, it could make a great deal of difference.”
Those interested in volunteering or donating to the Clothing Giveaway or Mobile Food Pantry can contact the New Life Lutheran Church office at 740-446-4889. The next blood drive at New Life Lutheran Church will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on August 4, for those interested in donating.
Tickets for the Everyday Heroes awards breakfast are $10 and can be purchased by contacting the American Red Cross at (740) 446-8555 or emailing: email@example.com. Tickets can also be picked up at the Gallipolis Red Cross office located at 417 Second Avenue. Those interested in attending are urged to purchase their tickets as soon as possible, as the event has sold out in past years.
Those interested in volunteering for the American Red Cross can contact the office for more information.
Editor’s note: Additional biographies of the 2012 award winners will be published in the Thursday edition of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.