Red Cross Recognizing Everyday Heroes

March is Red Cross Month, and the organization is celebrating by recognizing everyday heroes. The annual celebration honors Utahns who are doing extraordinary things. 

Every Thursday in March guests will gather at a luncheon to meet the heroes and her their story. Awards will also be given to the heroes.

The first Heroes event takes place in Greater Utah County (Provo) March 5th followed by Greater Salt Lake Area (Salt Lake City) March 12th, Northern Utah (Ogden), and Southern Utah (St. George) March 26th .

A new category will single out an organization that has gone above and beyond in helping Red Cross. 

“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to become part of the Red Cross Family. It’s easy,” Utah Regional CEO Heidi Ruster said. “They can become a Red Cross volunteer, work on a preparedness plan for their household, give blood, financially support and/or take a Red Cross class.” She added supporting a Heroes event is another great way to get involved and contribute.

Kenny Gardner is one of the heroes being recognized by the Red Cross this month:

Kenny received a heart about a year ago after Nick Longshore, a former BYU offensive lineman, died due to injuries sustained in an ATV crash.

Kenny Gardner was a former University of Utah athlete and has gone on to give back the gift he was given. Kenny Gardner founded the Hearts 4 Hearts Foundation to raise awareness for organ donation and encourage more people to become donors.

The foundation also created a college scholarship fund for the surviving family of organ donors in hopes of giving Hannah Longshore’s two-month-old baby girl, and others like her a higher education.

As a 6-foot-5 tall man, Kenny not only needed a normal heart that matched his blood type but also a big heart that matched his size.

Only 3 percent of the population had Gardner’s frame. Gardner received a phone call that a heart was available and he then had a chance at a new life.

After his successful transplant he met Caroline Longshore, Nick’s wife.

Since that first meeting Caroline and Kenny have remained close. Even though their baby will never know her father, she will know his heart has given life to Kenny who continues to reach out in gratitude.

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