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Photo: Lois A. Grimm, License: N/A, Created: 2018:03:15 18:45:19

Amber Ankudovich and Peter Sidari were presented with the Medical Hero Award. From left, are Bill Goldsworthy, executive director of American Red Cross Northeastern Pennsylvania; Ankudovich, Sidari, Kathi Bankes, American Red Cross Wyoming Valley chapter chairwoman, and presenter Rick Kazmerick.

Photo: Lois A. Grimm, License: N/A, Created: 2018:03:15 18:38:44

Estevan Azocar, second from left, recipient of a Good Samaritan award, poses with, from left, Bill Goldsworthy, executive director of American Red Cross Northeastern Pennsylvania; Kathi Bankes, chairwoman of American Red Cross Wyoming Valley Chapter, and presenter Rafael Perez.

PLAINS TWP. — Red Cross volunteers helped people in need last year after natural disasters in faraway states and in emergencies close to home.

Dozens of local Red Cross volunteers helped after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Other people performed acts of selflessness locally by volunteering, contributing to the organization or giving blood.

“No matter where’s there’s a need, the Red Cross is there,” said Bill Goldsworthy, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Some people found themselves in drastic situations that required exceptional action.

American Red Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania recognized 20 people at its “Heroes Celebration” on Thursday, March 15, at Mohegan Sun Pocono casino.

An 11-year-old boy, two nursing students, an off-duty police officer and others all found themselves in precarious situations and had the presence of mind to help.

Several of the honorees are from the Greater Pittston area.

• Carson Crossley, 11, of Wyoming, was among the recipients.

He was a passenger in his friend’s car traveling on Wyoming Avenue when the car sheared a telephone pole. He looked to the driver, his friend’s father, and found him slumped over the wheel with his foot on the accelerator.

The car was drifting toward the other lane, so Carson thought quickly.

He grabbed the steering wheel and maneuvered it away from oncoming traffic. He hit two trees trying to slow down the car, then went through a yard and into a house.

“I’m just very proud of him,” said his mother, Debra Crossley.

Other Greater Pittston residents who were recognized included:

• Estevan “Steve” Azocar, West Pittston. Azocar and his family were traveling on Interstate 80 when they saw a car collide with a deer.

The car’s doors would not open, so Azocar broke through the back window to free the two people inside before a tractor trailer hit the disabled vehicle. If not for Azocar’s action, the people in the car might have been killed, the Red Cross said.

• Peter Sidari, West Pittston, and Amber Ankudovich, Wilkes-Barre. Wilkes University nursing students Sidari and Ankudovich were heading to a clinic at a local hospital when they were caught in traffic after an accident. A man riding a bike on River Street at the Market Street Bridge had been struck. The students performed chest compressions on the man until paramedics arrived.

bwellock@pittstonprogress.com