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Posted May 3, 2012

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Two APS Employees to be Honored as Heroes by the Red Cross

Marvin Callahan, a teacher at Comanche ES, and Christine Ambriz, the health assistant at E.G. Ross ES, will be recognized for their heroic acts.

Marvin Callahan (above, right) is introduced at a school board meeting by Associate Superintendent Diane Kerschen. Christine Ambriz (below) also spoke at the meeting.

Marvin Callahan and Christine Ambriz are heroes. Really. Just ask the Red Cross.

The two APS employees will receive the Red Cross Real Heroes award at a breakfast later this month for “unselfish and heroic actions.” Callahan, a second grade teacher at Comanche Elementary School, has been selected as the Workplace Hero, and Ambriz, the health assistant at E.G. Ross Elementary, has been chosen as the Water Safety Hero.

Both have heroic tales to tell.

Callahan is being recognized for assisting two students and their mother who were victims of domestic violence last school year. The family escaped their home and the abusive situation with only a grocery bag of clothes. The only hearty meals the children ate were the free ones they got at school. The family was at risk of being evicted from the apartment they had escaped to.

Callahan, who had one of the children in his class, organized a collection from co-workers and church members to help the family survive. He collected and purchased clothes, shoes and food to sustain them until other assistance became available. The mother was overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity. The children were thrilled to have new shoes.

“There are many teachers who give from their hearts and pockets to help out students and families in need. These small acts are often anonymous, but to the child and family, it is a life-saving action that will never be forgotten,” said the description of the Heroic Act that helped earn Callahan the Workplace recognition.

Ambriz is being honored for saving a boy who almost drowned last summer. She was at the Paradise Community Center pool with her children when a lifeguard pulled the unconscious 7-year-old from the water. Ambriz performed chest compressions and provided care until paramedics arrived. The incident was covered by the media, but Ambriz initially kept her act of bravery anonymous. She eventually met with the boy and his family.

“Her swift and calm actions provided the care the child required to survive this event. She saved his life,” said the description of the Heroic Act that helped earn Ambriz the Water Safety recognition.

The Red Cross Real Heroes breakfast will be held at 7:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 22, at the UNM Ballroom at the Student Union Building. The annual breakfast honors “New Mexicans whose unselfish and heroic actions reflect the spirit and ideals of the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross.”

For more information or to attend the breakfast, visit the website of the American Red Cross in New Mexico.

The two also were recognized this week by the APS Board of Education.

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