A woman was ready to end her life.
Parked at the Kroger gas station on Presidential Parkway on Aug. 14, she planned to commit suicide on Interstate 75 by crashing into other cars in a fiery explosion.
It took two hours for Macon police Sgt. David Henning to coax her into unlocking her car door and willingly accepting help from paramedics.
“She had a lot to live for,” said Henning, who works out of the police department’s Macon Mall precinct.
Henning prevented a suicide and saved lives by not allowing the woman to drive, Macon Police Chief Mike Burns wrote on an award nomination form.
Henning and 20 other Middle Georgians were honored Wednesday morning as Hometown Heroes at an American Red Cross fundraising breakfast at Macon State College. Money was raised through corporate sponsors and ticket sales for the breakfast.
Award recipients ranged from public safety workers such as Henning to Springdale Elementary fourth-grader Jonathan D. Turner, who performed the Heimlich maneuver on a choking student.
Macon-Bibb County firefighter Vincent Gumina was honored for rescuing a child from a burning house on Pringle Street in April 2009. While searching the house with another firefighter, Gumina heard a baby cry.
“We couldn’t see anything because of all the smoke,” he said in a recorded interview displayed at the event.
A group of Mary Persons High School students were honored for devising a plan to raise money for the Haiti relief program. Within two weeks, the students collected more than $1,150.
Paul Hampton, a Hancock County emergency management volunteer, was named a hero for being a “good Samaritan” to a disabled veteran, helping around the house without accepting any compensation.
The Red Cross’ Central Georgia Chapter received 55 nominations for the awards, said Tracy Willis-Kight, the executive director.
“It’s just amazing that every day your next-door neighbor is giving selflessly to others,” she told the audience of about 150 who attended the event.
The chapter plans to make the fundraising breakfast an annual event, said Ryan Logan, a spokesman for the chapter.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.