Local heroes recognized for lifesaving efforts

WPRI/Madeleine Wright

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The American Red Cross honored local heroes for their good deeds at a ceremony in Providence Friday morning.

The organization handed out four different awards before a crowd of about 200 at the 4th Annual Rhode Island Heroes Breakfast.

Burrillville native Skip Buxton received the Lifesaving Hero Award for his efforts last December, when he saved a man’s life after a routine day at work turned into an emergency situation.

“I’m honored to receive this award. It’s a great thing,” he said Friday.

It was an emotional day for Buxton and the man he saved, Lamont Valles, who came to show his support.

“He saved my life, and I figured this would be the least I could do,” said Valles.

Buxton and Valles were at work at the port of Davisville when Valles suddenly had a heart attack while driving his car near the pier.

“I got in my car, felt a little short of breath, but it was nothing unusual, and that’s the last I remember,” Valles recalled. “When I woke up, they told me I had been in an accident.”

Buxton heard the crash, and sprang into action when he realized what caused it.

“I hooked the AED up to him and it monitored him and it said ‘initiate the shock,’ and I did. I initiated CPR and he came back,” he said.

“Thank God he didn’t give up on me,” added Valles. “He said it took three different tries before I finally came to.”

To this day, the two men remain best friends.

The Red Cross also presented North Providence Police Officers Robert Brown and Scott Feeley with the Spirit of the Red Cross Award. The pair not only used CPR to help save a man found lying unconscious in the street, but also cleared the snow from his driveway after learning he was on his way to shovel a neighbor’s driveway before starting on his own.

The Military Hero Award was given to the U.S. Coast Guard, whose perpetual efforts have saved numerous lives over the past year, and whose members risk their lives each day in service to our country.

The Aquidneck Island Emergency Group, who’s working with the Red Cross to make sure residents of the island are safe at all times, received the Community Resilience Hero Award.

The ceremony was part of a fundraiser for the American Red Cross, and was emceed by Eyewitness News Anchor Shannon Hegy. All proceeds will go to local programs and relief services.

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