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SALT LAKE CITY -- The American Red Cross honored a group of ordinary Utahns who did extraordinary things with a luncheon Wednesday. Among those honored: a group of firefighters, a dog and a young boy.
At 11 years old, Alex Malin thinks it's pretty cool such a big fuss is being made over him, but he understands why. "Because I saved a life," he said.
In July of 2008, Alex heard Dean Ririe's cries for help. "His foot was stuck under a big boulder," Alex explained. He was in really, really bad shape. His lips were blue. He had trouble speaking."
Ririe's foot gotten stuck under the boulder while he was fishing the river in Little Cottonwood Canyon. He was stuck in the frigid water for 16 hours before Alex found him.
Alex stayed with Ririe as his father went for help. "Through all of it, Alex has been quite humble about it," said his father, Brian Malin.Scott Anderson and his crew at Unified Fire Authority were honored for their work after a tanker truck carrying 9,000 gallons of propane tipped on Interstate 215 near the mouth of Parley's Canyon.
Eight hundred homes had to be evacuated, and the driver was trapped in the truck. The crew was able to get the driver out of the truck, and the homes evacuated safely.
"It is nice that people notice what we do and the risks that we do take," Anderson said.
The furriest hero honored is a certified therapy dog named Benj. He visits nursing homes, hospitals and shelters.
"He's friendly, lovable, tolerant, likes everybody, doesn't judge anybody. He makes them feel he likes them, like they're really special," Benji's owner, Jim Espeland, said.
At the luncheon, it was the heroes made to feel special. Alex says it was a little nervous about being honored, but he'd get over it. And who knows, he may save another life! "You never know," Alex said.
This year's winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Skip Morgan, who has taught thousands of Utahns over several years how to respond to the signs and symptoms of heart attacks.
There were 10 awards given to heroes. To read about all their individual stories, click on the links in the box above.