The program offers a free cat or dog adoption to U.S. veterans who served in areas of combat.

"For vets coming home from wars and experiencing things many of us would never experience in a lifetime. The dogs understand that; the cats understand that," said Kristi Rodriguez, the ARL's volunteer program coordinator. "They've lost a lot in their lives, as well, so there's definitely a connection between the two."

Veterans interested in the program can email Rodriguez for more information.


Red Cross Heroes: Fire safety

Firefighter Anthony Morganti, Firefighter Jeffrey Rushing, Firefighter/Paramedic Christian Murray, Deputy Chief Andrew LaFaver and Chief Craig Reinhart, all members of the Temple Fire Company, and Michael Faranda, were honored as fire safety heroes for reviving Faranda's father, Salvatore, who was experiencing cardiac arrest inside his home in Muhlenberg Township.

Michael Faranda performed CPR on his dad until the Temple firefighters could arrive and use an AED unit him.

"Not many people get a second chance. I definitely had a second chance," Salvatore said. "If there’s a thing above hero, I’d put them there."


Red Cross Heroes: Law enforcement

Pennsylvania State Police Troopers Edgardo Lugo and Brian Jasinksi and Cpl. Douglas Bendetti and Berks County sheriff's Deputy Richard Scott Reeser were honored as the law enforcement heroes for their actions in saving the life of a suicidal man.

Reeser was working as a security guard at Reading Hospital and saw the man sitting on the ledge of a parking garage.

"He looks at me, closes his eyes and he just starts to fall backwards," recalled Reeser, who grabbed the man by his shirt and held onto him for as long as he could. "I kind of, with all my energy, throw him to the side where there was a sign that leads into the garage there, and that's where he landed."

The troopers who responded helped pull the man to safety.

"We had to just take action on it to save this man, afford him the opportunity to live another day," Bendetti said.


Red Cross Heroes: Adult good Samaritan

Jeff Doelp, Dr. Robyn Gansner and James Young were honored as the adult good Samaritan heroes for their actions in saving the life of Russ Kline, Conrad Weiser's athletic director.

Doelp and Gansner began CPR after Kline collapsed and Young, a school athletic trainer, transported an AED unit to Kline.

"I got everybody away and I just hit the button and it shocked him," Young said.

It turned out, Kline had a torn heart valve.

"They are heroes and angels to me," Kline said.


Red Cross Heroes: Community impact

Douglas Graybill was honored as the community impact hero for his everyday actions to help others in need.

Graybill, a Vietnam War veteran, runs Veterans Making a Difference with his wife, Liz.

"It's 24 hours, seven days a week," Liz said. "It’s his life. They call, he goes."

Graybill, who has been homeless himself, spends as much of his free time as possible visiting VA hospitals and taking food and clothing to veterans at various homeless camps around the Reading area.

"They can talk to me. I speak their language," Graybill said. "I was homeless five times. I was alone, depressed, so I know where they’re at."