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Red Cross Honors Norwalk Hospital President For Work To Place AEDs In Towns

Mark and MaryGrace Gudis, along with Mike Daglio, president of Norwalk Hospital, and Matt Soicher, director of EMS at Norwalk Hospital
Mark and MaryGrace Gudis, along with Mike Daglio, president of Norwalk Hospital, and Matt Soicher, director of EMS at Norwalk Hospital Photo Credit: Red Cross

NORWALK, Conn. -- Mark and MaryGrace Gudis of Westport and Mike Daglio, president of Norwalk Hospital, will be receiving the Spirit of the Red Cross Hero Award at the 17th annual American Red Cross Connecticut Heroes Breakfast in Stamford on April 29.

Each of the six award recipients has made a life-saving or life-changing difference in their communities.

Mark and MaryGrace Gudis formed and funded an initiative in conjunction with Mike Daglio, president of Norwalk Hospital; Grace Linhard, chief development officer of Norwalk Hospital Foundation; and Matt Soicher, director of EMS at Norwalk Hospital, to promote the need for more Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, and to expand CPR training in their community. For this, they are being honored with this year's Spirit of the Red Cross Hero Award.

The Gudis family was inspired to start this initiative after Mark helped save the life of a teenager on Oct. 23. A Norwalk Hospital trustee, Mark used a portable AED he carries with him in his car to help resuscitate a teenager who experienced sudden cardiac arrest.

This prompted the Gudis family to form and fund an awareness initiative, partnering with Norwalk Hospital to place 100 AEDs in Westport, Wilton, Weston, Norwalk, and New Canaan. They also are spearheading the introduction of mandatory CPR and AED training as part of the high school curriculum for all students.

Mark and MaryGrace do not believe they acted heroically, but rather were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and were equipped with the right skills. When asked how they would define the word hero, Mark and MaryGrace said, “A hero is someone who risks their well-being to save a life or prevent a tragedy.”

Other honorees are:

  • Community Resilience Hero Award: The City of Milford, for its long-term recovery following Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene.
  • Life Saving Hero Award: Jovany Roman for performing CPR and saving the life of a man while on the job.
  • Military Hero Award: The U.S. Coast Guard, for its coordinated rescue of two mariners from the ice-cold waters of Long Island Sound
  • Water Safety Hero Award: Plainville Lifeguards for their continued diligence and teamwork to keep swimmers safe at the town pool.
  • Workplace Hero Award: Bridgewater Associates for its commitment to supporting American Red Cross as well as for its philanthropic and volunteer commitment to communities across Connecticut.

Registration and breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.Tickets are $40 each and must be purchased in advance. To purchase tickets online, click here .

For more information about the event or to reserve tickets, call (860) 678-4310.

The Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa is at 243 Tresser Blvd.

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