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“Every Day Heroes” honored by Red Cross

SALT LAKE CITY – Over a dozen Utahns, including a dog, are being honored by the Red Cross for their heroic actions during 2017.

Just over a year ago, Judy Cooper was awakened by the crying of her dog, Thibodeaux, who was on Judy’s husband’s chest while he was having a stroke.  He was flat on his back when his arms went stiff, pointing straight at the ceiling because of a seizure caused by his stroke.  Cooper says the whole event feels surreal, now.  She adds, “It’s still like a movie that just goes around and around in my head, because, I can’t believe that she did that.”

Cooper says Thibodeaux isn’t a service animal and didn’t have any training on how to help someone in trouble.  She was just a seven month-old puppy at the time.  Still, without Thibodeaux, Copper is convinced her husband would be dead.  “I don’t think people realize how smart dogs are.  I mean, she did something really special.  She saved his life. He wouldn’t be here,” Cooper says.

Thibodeaux won this year’s Animal Rescue Hero award.  Other honorees include first responders from Murray, who prevented a suicidal person from taking their own life.  There was also a deputy sheriff who punched through ice to save a child who fell into a frozen pond.

Plus, there were Tony Orton and Fil Reyes, who saved a woman that was being stabbed and attacked in a Maverik convenience store.  Orton remembers seeing the attack, vividly.  He says, “I ran in the store and saw [the victim] being held in a chokehold, and he had stabbed her a couple times.”

Orton and Reyes were able to fight the attacker off the woman, and locked him in the manager’s office while police arrived.  Reyes says, “I don’t want to consider myself a hero.  I’m just a person at the right place at the right time.”