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MAHONING VALLEY Event to honor 8 local heroes



Published: Fri, January 14, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Mahoning Chapter of the American Red Cross breakfast is Saturday.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Patrolman Brad DiTullio's courage in getting an assault rifle off the streets and firefighter Jason Simons' unselfish action at a fire scene make them Heroes of the Mahoning Valley.

The Mahoning Chapter of the American Red Cross will honor DiTullio, Simons and six other local residents at 10 a.m. Saturday at Antone's Banquet Center in Boardman. The event is sponsored by the DeBartolo Corp. and hosted by Scott Schneider, anchor of "WFMJ Today" on TV 21.

DiTullio, 28, joined the Youngstown Police Department in December 2001. He was nominated for the award by Detective Sgt. Zaida Miranda.

Simons, 28, joined the Youngstown Fire Department in March 2000. He was nominated by Battalion Chief Tim McGarry.

What they did

Miranda, in her nomination letter, said DiTullio, on July 18, 2004, became suspicious of three men in hooded sweatshirts and sweatpants on Bennington Avenue because it was a hot and humid night. He shone a light on the men and confronted them, even though he was alone on his East Side beat.

Two of the men walked away and the third turned his back on DiTullio, keeping his hands out of view. The officer, believing the man had a weapon, ordered him to the ground at gunpoint.

During a pat-down search, DiTullio found an assault rifle in the man's waistband. The officer also recovered a sizable amount of ammunition.

"Because of officer DiTullio's attention to detail, training, knowledge of the streets and his strong desire to protect the beat he patrols, he was able to successfully apprehend a felon from our city," Miranda wrote. "He may have possibly prevented a shooting from occurring."

She said he is one of Youngstown's finest.

On May 7, 2004, Simons responded to a residential fire and learned that an elderly man was still in the house, on the second floor.

Without hesitation, Simons climbed to the second floor, finding himself in a room next to the fire, McGarry said in his nomination letter. Simons found the elderly man near a window gasping for fresh air.

Simons immediately removed his breathing apparatus mask and used it on the elderly man, then led the fire victim out of the smoke-filled room, assisted by other firefighters.

It turned out that the elderly man had a heart condition. Because of Simons' unselfish concern for his own safety, he very well may have prevented a fatality, McGarry said in his recommendation.

Others

Also receiving Heroes of the Mahoning Valley awards are:

UYoungstown attorney Elliot P. Legow, who urged the founding of the Mahoning County Children's Coalition 20 years ago.

UJenifer Moorehead of Austintown, who, with Dr. Ayman Saleh of Tod Children's Hospital, formed the Jessica Foundation for Hope after the death of her daughter from leukemia in 2003.

UWilliam Vegh of Youngstown, who speaks to students about the loss of family members at a Nazi concentration camp in Poland in 1943.

UDenise Ann Zordich, a teacher at Hayes Middle School in Youngstown. She began a program for underprivileged pupils so they can attend the YMCA.

UDonna Dawson of Youngstown, whose cousin became an invalid after being struck by a drunken driver, moved, with her husband, into her aunt's home to care for both the aunt and cousin. The aunt died in September 2003 and Dawson continues to care for her cousin.

UJuanita Sherba of Canfield, a volunteer at the St. Vincent DePaul soup kitchen, is also known as the "Turkey Lady." She finds volunteers the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to roast roughly 150 turkeys to supply three soup kitchens that don't have ovens.




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