Red Cross Honors Heroes at 2019 Breakfast


Matt Pitta/

HYANNIS – Nearly 20 individuals were honored at the 17th Annual Cape, Islands and Southeastern Massachusetts Red Cross Heroes Breakfast Friday in Hyannis.

The fundraising breakfast showcases the impact in the community made by local heroes through direct lifesaving efforts or years of service.

Slain Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon was posthumously awarded as the Community Impact Hero as the one-year anniversary of his tragic death comes next Friday. Gannon was killed in the line of duty on April 12, 2018 while serving an arrest warrant in Marstons Mills.

Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson honored Gannon as part of the ceremony, speaking of his ambition to become a police officer.

“One year ago next Friday, K-9 Sergeant Sean M. Gannon died in the line of duty from a gunshot wound. Sean graduated from Westfield State College and earned a Master’s Degree from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Sean had the ability to do anything he wanted to do, but chose to be a police officer,” said Frederickson, before going on to speak of the bond Gannon shared with his two police dogs, Nero and Thor.

“Sean had a special relationship his police dogs. First his drug dog, Thor, and then his patrol dog, Nero. You see, a police K-9 is more than a pet. Thor and Nero were his partners, they were family members. Sean loved sharing Thor and Nero with the community, especially with kids. He saw the value in community engagement and it fit perfectly with the community policing philosophy that builds stronger communities.”

There wasn’t a dry eye to be found in the Resort and Conference Center as Frederickson spoke of Gannon’s character, and most notably, his family.

“In 2016, he married the love of his life, Dara Bryan. Together they shared a life filled with love, family, faith, travel, mountain climbing, camping, beach walks, and of course, dogs,” said an emotional Chief Frederickson.

“Sean was an artist who loved working with his hands and his work displayed a virtue of strength and sweetness. He always had a deep understanding of what it meant to do good and honorable things, and he left a legacy of high moral integrity.”

Matt Pitta/

Retired Yarmouth Police Officer Peter McClelland was also honored as a Professional Hero, as he spent several days by the side of Yarmouth Police K-9 Nero, who was wounded during the attack which killed Gannon.

Other heroes that were honored include:

Professional Heroes:

Officer John Munise, Taunton Police Department (Posthumously)

Seekonk Police Department- Officers Michael Knox, Wayne Thornhill, James Nelson & Alicia Kelly

Avery Nardone, Town of Yarmouth Lifeguard

Armed Forces Heroes:

Christopher Azevedo, Retired Army National Guard, New Bedford

AST2 Mike Kelly, US Coast Guard, Mashpee

Life Saving Heroes:

Lorraine Cabral, Fairhaven

Michael Dimond, Middleborough

Nicholas Callahan (South Dennis) & Kevin McCarthy (West Barnstable)

Dana Passante, Yarmouth

Rosemary Heath, Taunton

Jeff Turner & Doug Lindley, Nantucket

Red Cross Blood Hero:

Robert Mahoney, East Dennis

Chief Frederickson was also awarded during the event. As a surprise from the Yarmouth Police Department, Yarmouth Deputy Police Chief Steve Xiarhos presented Frederickson with a Red Cross Heroes medal to recognize his dedication to the community.

“It’s to recognize all that you have done our community throughout your career in Yarmouth, and especially for your support of our department and personnel over the past year,” Xiarhos said.

“It’s bringing the community together to mourn and also push for changes in law and support for police officers as we do our jobs every day, putting our jobs on the line in service to the community. You are not only a true professional, but also a hero. Please accept this award from the Red Cross and all of us. We love you.”

The event was held at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis.

By TIM DUNN, News Center 

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