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CHS student to receive Red Cross Hero Award

After Cloquet High School student Kody Denison helped administer CPR to revive his little sister Kenadie following a seizure, he didn't talk a lot about it to his fellow classmates. In his typically unassuming way, Denison simply figured he did what he had to do.

Soon, however, the entire state will know all about it.

Denison has been named one of the 2012 recipients of the American Red Cross Hero Awards. He and eight others will be honored at the Red Cross's Fifth Annual Heroes Breakfast on May 24 at Target Field in Minneapolis. The event will be held in the Legend's Club of the Carew Atrium and will host some 600 guests.

"The Red Cross Hero Awards recognize everyday people who perform extraordinary acts to help save lives," explained Megan Dulgar, director of fundraising events for the American Red Cross. "Our Heroes Breakfast is a chance for us to honor those who have made the simple, yet powerful decision to put their personal needs aside in order to help others."

Awards will be presented to recipients who have been nominated by community members and selected by the 2012 Heroes Breakfast Nomination Committee.

Denison will receive the Red Cross "Emergency Medical Assistance" award, presented to an individual who, during a crisis, provided medical assistance, including CPR and/or first aid to a person in need.

Following an article in the Pine Journal about Denison's successful effort at utilizing his recent CPR training to help 2-year-old Kenadie start breathing again after suffering a febrile seizure, he was nominated by five different people for the Red Cross award.

"Kody is a ninth-grade boy who had recently completed a CPR course in his Cloquet High School health class at the end of October," stated Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande in his nomination. "I learned about this incident after a story appeared in our local paper, and thought he should be nominated."

"Kody called the save a 'team effort' and was modest when accounting to his friends for what was an amazing experience," related health teacher Brenda Bender, who also submitted a nomination on Denison's behalf. "I haven't known Kody very long. He's a quiet kid who pays attention in class and just does what he's supposed to. He's a good kid and I am proud to have taught him Red Cross lifesaving skills. Cloquet High School has had a longtime commitment to Red Cross training, and First Aid and Adult/Child/Infant CPR make up a three- to four-week segment of freshman health classes. I've been teaching these skills as part of our Health Class for nearly 16 years.

"However, this is the first time someone I've taught has saved a life," Bender continued. "I am proud that Kody stayed calm and knew what to do when others around him might not have been so calm. This is priceless knowledge and I always tell students that I hope they never have to use their skills, but that I want them to have the knowledge and confidence to know what to do. It makes me feel good to know that a young person I taught used the knowledge gained to save someone's life."

"I believe that Kody did a wonderful thing learning CPR," added Debra Ostlund, whose son is one of Denison's friends. "It is incredibly useful knowledge to have. I believe he sets a great example for youth today."

"Kody took control of the situation and performed CPR, saving his sister's life," added Rich Marvel, a friend of Denison's family. "Kody is a hockey player for Cloquet and all around good kid...always friendly and courteous."

"Kody's parents were very panicked," said John Denison, Kody's uncle, of the family emergency. "Kody's ability to recognize the situation and direct a course of action was critical. He's typically quiet and very humble. He did not acknowledge his actions outside of our family until the newspaper article was published. I'm not sure it has sunk in with him yet how important it is to remain calm in emergency situations. He set a great example for others to follow."

Denison's father, Dave Mickle, said the whole family was "ecstatic" upon hearing Kody had been selected for the award.

"It's a great thing," said Mickle. "We hope it will help everyone know that [the CPR course] they're teaching is good stuff."

The entire family plans to attend the Heroes Award Breakfast at Target Field, including uncles, aunts and, of course, little Kenadie - in whose eyes Kody has been a hero all along.