Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

October 6, 2016 at 6:52am

Airman honored by Red Cross

Jenna Hanchard, host and reporter from KING 5 TV station, presents the 2016 American Red Cross Water Rescue Hero Award to Staff Sgt. Matthew Siegele, 627th Force Support Squadron. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

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The American Red Cross South Puget Sound Chapter hosted their annual 2016 Heroes luncheon Sept. 28 in Tacoma.

This year, the local chapter honored individuals from the community at the Hotel Murano Bicentennial Pavilion in Tacoma, with more than 400 members of the community gathered together to honor and recognize them for their heroic acts.

"I want to thank each and every one of you for coming to this event today," said Jenna Hanchard, host and reporter from KING 5 TV station. "Today we will be recognizing six individuals who did the unthinkable and sacrificed themselves to save lives."

Every year, the American Red Cross hosts an event, a community celebration honoring local individuals and organizations who've made a commitment to creating safer, stronger communities and providing help when disaster strikes.

In the audience was special guest Bonnie Bush, Executive Director of American Red Cross, who gave the welcome speech before the award recipients were called to the stage to receive their award.

"Our Heroes Luncheon is a way for us to honor inspirational community members and to give our profound thanks to those who perhaps wouldn't otherwise be recognized," said Bush. "It's all about celebrating people who have made our community a better place to live."

Bush wrapped up her speech thanking all the award recipients for their sacrifice to the community and gave a special thanks to all who serve in the Armed Forces.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Siegele, 627th Force Support Squadron sports and fitness NCO in charge, was the first of six individuals to be recognized at the Heroes luncheon.

"Our first award this afternoon goes to someone who spends his life ensuring the community and our nation is safe," said Hanchard. "Sgt. Siegele didn't need to be in uniform to put his life at risk for someone else."

Siegele received the 2016 Water Rescue Hero Award for his heroic act he performed, Jan. 1, when a little girl fell through the ice on Carter Lake on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"I am glad I was there," said Siegele. "All the training I've received through my years in the Air Force prompted me to react accordingly, ultimately saving her life."

After the audience watched a video on his story, Siegele proceeded to the stage, received his award and said a few words.

"I am honored to be here today to accept this award," said Siegele. "I am very humbled to share this stage with the people who have protected this community, not for the recognition, but for making our community better. I want to thank everyone who put me in for this special award, and I thank each and every one of you who came out today to support all the award recipients and the American Red Cross."

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