By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—They’re your friends and neighbors, and they’re in Baltimore every day helping the community and the Red Cross.

Ron Matz reports they’ll be honored at a major event in Baltimore on Friday night.

These are busy times for the Red Cross. It might be a storm or a fire, but volunteers are there.

Scott Salemme is the Chesapeake region CEO.

“Every day we transmit a dozen or so emergency communications messages, connecting our military which has been deployed with their loved ones in this community,” Salemme said. “Most of the disasters we respond to are house fires. We help on average three families a day that have been displaced by a house fire in the Chesapeake region.”

Friday night at the Meyerhoff, more than 7,000 people will join in a salute to Baltimore’s hometown heroes.

“This is the 15th year we’re doing the hometown heroes. We’re celebrating the folks who’ve really made our community the very best,” Salemme said.

City fire Lieutenant Derrick Ready will be saluted for leading a five-year effort to reduce the high number of Baltimore school fires.

“We would walk the halls of the schools. The second year of the plan school fires were down 36 percent. The third year it came down more. I ran the numbers in the fourth year, and school fires were down over 86 percent. I was astonished,” Ready said.

Ready says he’s humbled but others deserve credit, too.

“It’s not just me. It’s the men and women of the Baltimore City Public Schools Police Department and the men and women of the Baltimore City Fire Department,” Ready said.

Ninety eight percent of the Red Cross work force is volunteer, people with a commitment to help others, who will be honored Friday night.

“Its tomorrow night at 7 o’clock at the Meyerhoff. We’re excited we’re able to do this. All the proceeds benefit our programs and services. It’s really a big part of what we do,” Salemme said.

Friday night’s event will include a salute to local fallen heroes. Baltimore attorney Ron Shapiro will receive a lifetime achievement award, and WJZ’s Ron Matz will emcee the ceremony.


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