Honor Your Heroes: Nominations for the 20th Annual Red Cross Heroes Breakfast Are Now Open

Every spring, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago holds its Heroes Breakfast, honoring local community members who have “demonstrated heroism through extraordinary acts of courage or kindness.” To nominate a hero, visit the Red Cross website and complete a nomination form. Nominations are due Friday, December 31,  2021.

“Every year we look forward to recognize individuals who are making a difference in their communities in our Annual Heroes Breakfast,” said Celena Roldán, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Illinois. “This is an opportunity to show them our appreciation for their selfless actions, whether by responding to an emergency, saving someone’s life, educating our children or lending a hand to those going through a difficult time.“

There are few requirements for 2022 heroes: heroic acts must have taken place during the 2021 calendar year, or be on-going. Candidates must also live or work in the Illinois counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, LaSalle, Lake, McHenry or Will. 

Nominations are being accepted in the below categories, per the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago’s press release:

Blood Services Hero: The nominee can be an individual(s) or organization that is involved in activity that creates awareness of the importance of blood donation in the community, helps to ensure a sufficient and safe blood supply is available to those in need, and/or acts as an activist for the blood community at large.

Community Impact Hero: The nominee has displayed leadership and commitment to community by making a positive, noticeable and significant impact in our community. The nominee has identified a community need and created a program or service, or ensured access to essential services (could include: food service, postal service, public transportation, janitorial service, etc.) or otherwise took action to address community needs.

Disaster Relief Hero: The nominee can be an individual(s) or organization who has exhibited heroic efforts in any or all of the areas of disaster services, including preparedness, response or recovery during a natural disaster or emergency situation through mission-driven response assistance to people in need. The nominee(s) or organization exhibited heroism in response to an emergency situation or is involved in an ongoing commitment to a community that experienced a disaster through an act/s of kindness, courage, or unselfishness in response to an identified need. 

Education Hero: The nominee(s) has displayed leadership and commitment to their community by making a positive and significant impact, and through their efforts has exhibited heroic efforts to increase access to education during COVID-19. This nominee(s) could be, but not limited to, a practicing teacher, school administrator, day care provider or student organization.

Firefighter Hero: The nominee is a professional, reserve or volunteer firefighter, or medical personnel related to the dispatch operations of a fire department. The nominee could have been on- or off-duty at the time of the incident. The situation does not have to be associated with the use of skills directly related to their profession. The nominee either exhibited heroism in their response to an emergency situation or the nominee is involved in an ongoing commitment to the community through an act/s of kindness, courage, or unselfishness in response to an identified need.

Global Citizenship Hero: The nominee can be an individual(s) or organization who has worked to meet the needs of the world’s potentially vulnerable populations by building safer, more resilient communities and providing needed relief. The eligible nominee must be from the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois area, but may have conducted their service locally, nationally and/or internationally to assist the individuals in need.

Healthcare Hero: The nominee(s) is a licensed and practicing medical professional, medical student or retired medical professional. The nominee could have been on- or off-duty at the time of the incident. The nominee either exhibited heroism in their response to an emergency situation, ongoing medical need including COVID-19, or ongoing commitment to the community through an act/s of kindness, courage, unselfishness in response to an identified need.

Law Enforcement Hero: The nominee(s) is a professional police officer or related law enforcement official. The nominee could have been on- or off-duty at the time of the incident. The situation does not have to be associated with the use of skills directly related to their profession. The nominee either exhibited heroism in their response to an emergency situation or the nominee is involved in an ongoing situation in which a commitment is made to the community through an act/s of kindness, courage, or unselfishness in response to an identified need. Lifesaving Rescue Hero: The nominee(s) has performed an act of heroism involving an unusual, significant or unexpected incident requiring a courageous or unselfish reaction in a time of need that ultimately was resolved in the saving of another person’s life.

Military Hero: The nominee(s) is a U.S. service member (active duty and/or reserve components), veteran, military supporter or organization that serves the military community. The eligible nominee(s) could have been on- or off-duty at the time of the heroic event. The situation does not have to be associated with the use of skills directly related to their profession. The nominee either exhibited heroism in their response to an emergency situation or the nominee is involved in an ongoing commitment to the community through an act/s of kindness, courage, or unselfishness in response to an identified need.

Social Justice Impact Hero: The nominee (s) has displayed leadership and commitment to their/our community by recognizing a need, making a positive and significant impact through their efforts to propel social change. The nominee values human rights and the dignity of all.

Youth Hero: The nominee(s) must be 17 years old or under at the time of the incident or act. The eligible nominee(s) has performed an act of heroism involving an unusual, significant or unexpected incident requiring a courageous or unselfish reaction in a crisis or time of need. The nominee(s) can be involved in an on-going commitment to the community through an act/s of kindness, courage, or unselfishness in response to an identified need.

Honorees will be recognized at the 20th Annual American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast, to be held in person on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at the Hilton Chicago, in downtown Chicago.

Better has been a proud media sponsor of past Red Cross Heroes Breakfasts, and will be a Presenting Sponsor of the 2022 event. For inspiration, see our extensive coverage from 2020 and 2021.


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