American Heart Association unsung heroes recognized

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112369659514749.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘CUTTING ROOM: American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Hero Kari Fiorello (L), a stylist at the Cutting Room in Leaf River, poses with co-worker Lisa Kirane (R). Fiorello used CPR to save Kirane’s life when she collapsed at work in December of 2004. The American Heart Association honored Fiorello and other Rockford-area Heart and Stroke Heroes at a luncheon on June 15.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11236957979132.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘OFFICER KEANE: Huntley Police Officer Kevin Keane accepts his Heart and Stroke Hero Award from American Heart Association Board Chairman Kathie Elliot. On May 31, Officer Keane responded to an EMS call for a motorist who had collapsed behind the wheel on I-90. When Keane arrived, the patient had no pulse and was not breathing. Keane performed CPR and applied an AED, or automated external defibrillator, saving the motorist’s life. The American Heart Association honored Keane and other Rockford-area Heart and Stroke Heroes at a luncheon June 15.’);

“Unsung” heroes of heart health from Rockford and outlying communities received some much-deserved recognition at the American Heart Association’s first Heart and Stroke Heroes event held Wednesday, June 15, at Giovanni’s Restaurant, 610 N. Bell School Rd. This year’s nominees were the following:

Jacob Milani and his family know the horrors of heart disease all too well; this 9-year-old Rockford resident received a pacemaker when he was 5 to correct a congenital defect. Since then, the Milani family has been avid fund-raisers and spokespeople for the American Heart Associaton.

Kari Fiorello administered CPR to fellow hairstylist Lisa Kirane at The Cutting Room in Leaf River. In December 2004, Kirane collapsed, and Fiorello “literally pumped her heart for her,” as described by co-workers.

Wendy Slick-Davidson is a Rockford-based parish nurse employed by OSF-St. Anthony Hospital. While Slick-Davidson was on a house call, her patient collapsed. The nurse caled 911 and administered CPR until EMS arrived.

Fire Chief Oscar Presley, Lt. John Bergeron and Firefighter/EMT Mike Pierson are credited for procuring funding for the 14 AEDs placed in schools, village offices and community centers in Roscoe, Harlem and Machesney Park in the past year.

Dr. Robert Harner of Rockford Cardiology Associates has devoted his career to cardiac care. His passion for CPR and prevention education has inspired his community and made Rockford a safer place to live.

Jennifer Moore and Kevin Martin helped save Rockford resident Janine Head after she suffered a heart attack. While on a date with her then-boyfriend, now-fiancé Kevin, Head began experiencing difficulty breathing. Over Janine’s objections, Martin called Janine’s daughter Jennifer, who came from her nearby home and called 911. EMS arrived and saved Janine’s life.

Kevin Keane, a police officer in Huntley, responded to an EMS call for an unconscious motorist on I-90. Officer Keane performed CPR and applied an AED, restoring the pulse and allowing the motorist to breathe on his own.

Belvidere Police Chief Jan Nole, and other city officials have secured funds from private donors and businesses to equip an unprecedented 100 percent of their squad cars with AEDs. Two lives have already been saved.

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of Americans, claiming nearly 100,000 lives each year. While many factors contribute to heart disease and stroke risk, the diseases are largely preventable through proper diet, exercise and smoking cessation. The American Heart Association applauds the efforts of local hometown heroes in eradicating these deadly diseases from their communities. For more information on CPR courses in Rockford, visit

From the Aug. 10-16, 2005, issue

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