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Everyday heroes: Red Cross honors Utahns who make a difference in their communities

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SALT LAKE CITY — Contrary to what superhero stories suggest, a person — or puppy, for that matter — doesn't need a cape to make a profound difference in the community.

Utah radio personality Frankie Corrigan once slept in a box for 97 hours in the winter, rollerbladed from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas and wrote a children's book to raise funds for people in need.

Additionally, when he and his wife were struggling with infertility, he publicly shared their experience in the hope of helping other couples.

"His listeners will email him, and he takes as much time as he needs to email them back. He makes sure that he gives them the time and the response that they deserve," said his wife, Tammy Corrigan.

The radio host was just one of 15 individuals, organizations and a dog honored by the American Red Cross during a luncheon at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Friday.

Thibodeaux, an Australian Shepherd and heeler mix, rescued her owner Jim Cooper when Cooper had a stroke one night in March 2017.

When Judy Cooper awoke to the sound of whining, she found the couple's puppy sitting on her husband's chest.

"Without (the dog), he wouldn't have made it," Judy Cooper said. "I guess I would have woke up the next morning and lost him."

As she pranced onto the stage, Thibodeaux responded to applause with excited barking as she received the title of "Animal Rescue Hero."

Another everyday hero, 13-year-old Kylie Wunder, has been a soccer player for most of her life. Her twin younger brothers are autistic and unable to play on a traditional sports team.

However, she wanted them to get to enjoy the sport that she loves.

With the help of her mom, she raised funds to start a soccer camp for children with autism in Utah County.

"Our camp, it's not run like regular soccer camp. ... our camp is kind of loosey-goosey for the kids who just don't do well with a really set-in-stone schedule," Kylie Wunder said.

"The unsung heroes in autism are the siblings. Parents are often so busy in helping these little guys, (siblings) have to take a step back. And Kylie has been so amazing at that. She has never complained once. Not once," said Jenny Wunder, the 13-year-old's mother.

Kylie Wunder was named "Family Hero" by the American Red Cross.

Others honored by the organization as everyday heroes were no less inspiring.

Dan Workman writes about his experience recovering from drug addiction and has helped many others, as well as their families, through his blog Keep Hoping People. He was named "Community Service Hero."

Kristen Ries, a doctor, and Maggie Snyder, her assistant, received the title "Lifetime Achievement Heroes" for their work helping people with AIDS. The two were also the focus of a documentary entitled "Quiet Heroes," which was screened at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Colby Boothe was honored with the title "Youth Good Samaritan Hero" for performing CPR on his dad after his dad blacked out while running.

Salt Lake Fire Capt. Tony Allred received the title "Firefighter Hero" for taking action when, off-duty, he came across a shooting scene and jumped in to help.

Kelly Reyes started donating blood when she found out her friend had leukemia. She then moved to Utah, where she got involved with American Red Cross. She now organizes 10 blood drives per year. She was given the title "Gift of Life Hero."

Delivery men Phil Reyes and Tony Orton were making deliveries to convenience stores last October when they pulled into a West Valley City Maverik and heard screaming. They found a store employee was being stabbed and stepped in to help her.

"My mom raised me to have the heart of a lion … don't let anything happen to you. You can stand up for yourself. I just wanted to protect her, because when I looked at her, I saw my mom, I saw my sister, I saw my girlfriend," Reyes said Friday.

Justin Rasmussen received the title "Preparedness Hero" for heading to the scene of a dirt bike accident and performing CPR on an injured young man.

Police and firefighters from Murray were named "First Responder Heroes" for putting themselves at risk to save a man who had been on the verge of suicide.

Members of the National Ability Center were honored as "Military Heroes" for helping people with disabilities, including veterans, develop skills through recreational activities.

Bruce Muir received the title "Global Citizenship Hero" for his many years of service as the humanitarian response director with the LDS Church.

Washington County Sheriff Sgt. Aaron Thompson was named "Law Enforcement Hero" for jumping into a frozen lake to save an 8-year-old who had fallen through in December.

"I just made the decision I was going to go get him," Thompson told the Deseret News at the time.

"I knew what I was getting into. I knew how cold that ice would be. I've dove under the water before. I knew about how much time I had in there … I knew exactly what I was getting into when I got into that water," Thompson said