Red Cross honors Real Heroes
Honorees include GJ girl who fought off adult attacker
When Tabytha Carroll’s attacker tried to abduct her May 13, she bit him on the nose.
When Mike Blackburn, the emcee of the 2009 Real Heroes Breakfast on Thursday morning at Two Rivers Convention Center, called her name, the applause was immediate. People rose to their feet and clapped for nearly 30 seconds.
Tabytha, 9 years old when abducted, was one of 11 people recognized by the American Red Cross, Western Colorado chapter, during the event. Almost everyone recognized shied away from the honor, saying they were either doing their job or doing what they enjoy.
Tabytha was an exception. A victim of circumstance, she fought back the best she could, but was still thrown in her abductor’s car trunk and taken.
“I was telling God to keep me safe,” Tabytha said.
When the convicted child molester found a secluded spot, he opened the trunk. Exactly what his plans were, no one can say for sure, but Carroll did not wait to find out. She sprung from the open trunk, bit her attacker on the nose and made good her escape. The bite mark eventually led to a positive identification of her attacker.
“I know I am not to talk to strangers anymore, because they will fool you,” Tabytha said.
Another exception to the majority of honorees was Virginia Samuel. She has been volunteering for more than half a century and has been volunteering with the Red Cross since 1987.
She was honored Thursday for carrying a telephone wherever she goes. The phone can ring any hour of the day or night, and Samuel will be there to answer. On the other end of the line is a service member in need. Samuel helps service members secure emergency leave to deal with family crises. In 2008 the Western Slope chapter of the Red Cross processed 131 such cases.
“If they know you can help them out, that’s the nicest thing about it,” she said. “Just knowing you’ve helped someone.”