TRUMBULL -- All of those honored by the American Red Cross on Friday morning had one thing in common: they did not view themselves as heroes.
Police officers and firefighters, a teacher, Little League coaches, even a brother and sister who saved their infant sibling told a packed ballroom at the Trumbull Marriott that they did what anyone else would -- or should -- do under the circumstances.
When Colleen Porricelli, a teacher at Fawn Hollow School in Monroe, heard that a child was choking in the cafeteria and needed help, she said that her first thought was: "I can't believe that I have to do this.'' But Porricelli used the CPR and first aid training she received to administer two abdominal thrusts, and the boy expelled the piece of hot dog that had been lodged in his throat.
"I felt that I was just doing my job, which is to keep the kids safe,'' she said.
Among the most poised of the heroes were Jonathan and Rashidah Dorvil, of Stamford, who calmly described on a video segment how they were home alone last September when they noticed that their baby brother was not breathing.
Rashidah held William in her arms at the podium Friday while Jonathan admitted "we were panicked at first. But we knew what we had to do to help, and that we were his only chance.''
Both teens had learned CPR in the Stamford public schools, and took turns administering the life-saving technique. Baby William had been revived when EMS personnel arrived.
Darby Hogan said she had "literally learned CPR that week in my Human Behavior class'' when she saved the life of a young man in front of her Stamford home last October. She did two rescue breaths and 30 chest compression to get the victim breathing again.
"I had to try,'' the young girl said. "It's crazy to think that I saved someone's life but I don't consider myself a hero.''
But when he received the prestigious national 2013 Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award on Wednesday, O'Connell told the audience Friday, "I saw the look on my son's and my wife's faces that told me that I was their hero. That was really cool.''
Capt. Frank Bridge, of the Bridgeport Fire Department, dragged an unconscious man from a burning apartment building last February, then went back in to help an intellectually disabled woman flee the fire.
Bridgeport police officer David Rivera s helped the victim of a drive-by shooting in October while four other officers swiftly intercepted a suspect. Rivera said he was able to get a "dying declaration'' from the victim which helped solve the crime.
Three women who grew up in Fairfield -- Lindsey Morton, Katie Boland and Kelly Niznansky -- organized an beach cleanup using Facebook and other social media, drawing more than 1,000 volunteers to help victims of Hurricane Sandy recover.
A suicidal man with a knife on the top of a St. Vincent's Medical Center parking garage was calmed and saved last October by two nurses -- Scott Brennan and Joseph Halkowicz -- hospital security director Joseph Laveneziana and Dr. Abdelmonium Affany.
Three Fairfield Little League volunteers were honored Friday for helping a man on fire after his vehicle burst into flames at Tunxis Hill Park, at the same time shielding children from the horror.
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