Red Cross Honors N.H. Flood Heroes

In torrential rain, they pulled residents to safety through raging waters, pounded on doors to move people out of harm’s way and cleared people off a bridge seconds before it was hit by a wall of water. Now they’re being honored as heroes.

The Red Cross honored seven Alstead officials, firefighters and a civilian Friday for saving an untold number of lives during last fall’s floods.

The heroes include fire Capt. Don Martin, fire Lt. Dave Olmstead and firefighters Jodi Kercewich and Sonja Anderson, who pulled three residents to dry ground in the middle of the night as the dam at Warren Lake overflowed and water raged around them, and the home.

“It was pitch black, with driving rain and it sounded like a jet plane all around us,” resident Tom Hancock said recently. He said Martin, who made his way through the water to his home, is a genuine hero.

“He risked his life,” Hancock said.

Also recognized were Police Chief Christopher Lyons, Public Works Director David Crosby and civilian John Anderson.

With rain falling and water rising, Lyons and Anderson went door-to-door through the night, warning residents of the danger and urging them to leave. Crosby kept watch on the rising water, telephoned residents to try to get them out of harm’s way and went door-to-door as a culvert gave way, releasing a torrent toward the center of town.

That’s were people stood on a bridge over the Cold River. Anderson ran across, moving residents only seconds before the water hit.

All were honored at the Red Cross’ Fourth Annual Heroes Breakfast.

“Basically, the premise is to honor the ordinary hero,” said Red Cross volunteer Shirley English-Whitman. “We all have them in our lives. People who make a difference for us, day-to-day.’