Red Cross honors Tucson mass shooting heroes

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- In times of crisis, heroes emerge.  And every year for the last 12 years the American Red Cross Southern Arizona chapter honors local community heroes.  This year, the event takes on extra meaning, honoring those heroes from the January 8 mass shooting.

"We gather today to honor some very special people who saved a life this year," said a speaker at a luncheon.

The American Red Cross calls them heroes, but it's a word these lifesavers of January 8 have trouble embracing.

"You don't feel like a hero at all. You feel like wow why did I survive this.  And you have this sick feeling in your stomach that I'm still here and this 9-year-old precious girl is gone," said RN Nancy Bowman.

These are the people who, in a moment of tragedy, helped minimize the number of people killed January 8.  They're humble. Almost embarrassed to re-tell the stories.

"You probably heard this 15,000 times already," said Patricia Maisch.

But when you look at what people like Bill did.  Even after being wounded by the gunman.

"When he pointed the gun at me I ducked real quick and I felt the burning sensation on the back of my head," said Bill Badger.

He was the first one to take him down.  And he had help.

"I did see his legs kind of flailing so I knelt on both his ankles. My husband asked me the other day to show him what I did, and he said, 'that hurt,'"said Maisch.

They reject the word hero, but this group admits it helps knowing what they did that day helped save lives, and now weeks later, helps the community heal.

The heroes save the day luncheon each year honors heroes who saved a life through CPR, first aid or other skills taught by the Red Cross.  That's exactly what many of the January 8 heroes did. 

One thing mentioned Wednesday, they were lucky at least one nurse and four doctors were there at the scene of the shooting, able to help in the moments following.