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Heroes Game Award Winners

November 23, 2011 | News & Press Releases


Award Winners Announced for Heroes Game Presented by Hy-Vee

Winners will receive recognition at halftime during Iowa/Nebraska game Friday

A law enforcement officer and a three-time breast cancer survivor have been selected as the Iowa and Nebraska "citizen heroes" as part of the celebration of the inaugural Heroes Game presented by Hy-Vee to be played Friday in Lincoln, Neb.

The football teams from the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska will square off Friday at 11 a.m. (Central time) inside Memorial Stadium in the first-ever Heroes Game. At halftime, the sellout crowd of 81,000-plus will be introduced to Gary Launderville of Storm Lake, Iowa and Kathy Griess of Fremont, Neb., who were selected by Red Cross staff and volunteers from a field of more than 200 nominations.  Athletic Directors Tom Osborne, University of Nebraska, and Gary Barta, University of Iowa will be presenting the Heroes trophy to the recipients.

Iowa Winner

Gary Launderville
Storm Lake, Iowa
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Nebraska Winner

Kathy Griess
Fremont, Nebraska
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Launderville was chosen as the hero from the state of Iowa for his concern for children and for putting community safety ahead of personal safety. The sheriff of Buena Vista County, Launderville and his wife, Sandy, have fostered 125 children, seven of which they eventually adopted and joined their family of six. Last January, Launderville was hit by an SUV and thrown 20 feet into the air when he was rescuing a mother and child stranded in a raging snowstorm.

Griess was chosen as the hero from the state of Nebraska for her efforts to save the lives of two children. Griess was driving home when she noticed thick, black smoke coming from a mobile home park. She pulled off the highway and drove to the park where she found two children trapped by a fire. Without hesitation, Greiss went to a window of the mobile home and pulled the boys, ages three and one, to safety.

Launderville and Griess and members of their families will be the guests of the Hawkeyes and the Cornhuskers at the 2011 Heroes Game. They will participate in a variety of special pre-game activities, will be recognized for the acts of heroism at halftime and will have their names inscribed on the Heroes Game trophy.

Representatives from Hy-Vee will be presenting a check to the American Red Cross just before kickoff to show support for the Heroes recognized and the important work of the American Red Cross in Iowa and Nebraska.

Fans of the football teams from the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska are invited to celebrate Thanksgiving and the spirit of heroism in their community by texting either "IOWA" or "NEBRASKA" to 90999. Each text will result in a $10 contribution to the American Red Cross. Message and data rates may apply. To learn more, visit The text campaign will run through Nov. 25, 2011.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization - not a government agency - and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

Contact Information:

Nebraska Hero Contact
Danelle Schlegelmilch
Communications Director
Nebraska/SW Iowa Region
American Red Cross

Cell: (402) 689-3683
Iowa Hero Contact
Tammie Pech
Communications Director
Serving Greater Iowa
American Red Cross

Cell: (712) 253-6627
Ruth Comer
Assistant Vice President
Media Relations Hy-Vee, Inc.

Office: (515)559-5770
Mobile: (515)868-2061