Red Cross honors Tallmadge woman who saved neighbor

Krista S. Kano
Kent Weeklies
Clarissa Gagne, a second-grade teacher for Akron Public Schools, helped save a Tallmadge neighbor by performing CPR.

Clarissa Gagne, the Tallmadge woman who saved her neighbor's life by performing CPR, will soon be honored as one of seven recipients of the 25th annual Acts of Courage Awards. 

The American Red Cross of Greater Akron and Mahoning Valley will present the awards celebrating bravery and heroism during a virtual ceremony on March 4. 

More:Lifesaving lesson: Akron teacher uses CPR training to help save Tallmadge neighbor

In October, Gagne, a second-grade teacher at Betty Jane Community Learning Center in Akron, saw a neighbor fall in her front yard and was one of several neighbors to rush to help. Gagne performed CPR while others called 911, helped the woman's family and took care of Gagne's puppy. 

The Red Cross recently notified Gagne that Akron Public Schools had nominated her for the award and that she won. 

"I was really shocked," she said. "I didn't jump into a burning building. I just did what anyone would do."

Gagne said she is unsure how she will watch the virtual ceremony, as it is in the middle of the school day, but she is hoping that she'll be able to find a way to get her students involved. 

Other recipients include:

  • Twinsburg Police Officer Yamil Encarnacion who rescued a small child pinned inside an overturned vehicle.
  • Dustin Nist, a Kent State University student, who helped save a woman from a vehicle trapped in a river.
  • Richard Santucci and Jim Shepherd who helped save the life of a man who lost consciousness at Nordson Xaloy Inc. in Austintown.
  • Natalie Weisler, 7, who alerted her family of a home fire.
  • Joanne White who helped to keep others safe during COVID-19 by making and distributing 1,500 face masks. 

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.