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Unsung Heroes: Greg Gaines and Lisa Slattery[Part_1]

Greg Gaines is the Region D Mass Care Coordinator for the Homeland Security Oversight Committee and a Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteer. But he went above and beyond the call of duty recently when he witnessed an accident on I-44 west of Springfield. Lisa Slattery is a tireless advocate for disabled children in Springfield. She formed the group ANJEL for parents of disabled children and was instrumental in forming the Special Education Parent Teacher Association in Springfield.

It seems Greg Gaines can't say no when it comes to helping those affected by disasters. The Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteer recently headed to Piedmont, Missouri to help those affected by floods. When he's not deployed, he serves as region D mass care coordinator for the Homeland Security Oversight Committee in conjunction with the Red Cross.

While Gaines could easily have been nominated for KSMU's Unsung Heroes series for his volunteer work, it was something that happened in February that was the basis for his nomination.

That day Gaines, who loves animals, was headed to Joplin for a special needs committee meeting.

Gaines never did make it to his meeting. The accident he witnessed took precedence.

The driver of the wrecked car had fallen over onto the passenger seat, but his foot was sitting heavily on the gas pedal. Gaines used his Red Cross window punch to break the window and then he reached in and turned off the ignition. When that was done, he called 9-1-1.

Gaines is in charge of sheltering—for both pets and people—during disasters as part of his job. So, after he took care of the driver, he turned his attention to the dog.

The paramedics arrived and Gaines helped put a neck brace on the victim and place him on a backboard. He then drove back to the Red Cross office in Springfield, dog in tow. He and his coworkers cleaned up the animal, determined it was OK and then Gaines took it home until it could be reunited with its owner.

After he made sure the dog was OK, he headed to the hospital to check on the accident victim. After he found out that the man had been passing thru the Ozarks on his way from Chicago to Phoenix to visit family, he helped coordinate getting the man's daughters to Springfield.

Gaines and his wife took care of the dog for a week and a half. It was 3 days before Gaines could take the dog to visit his owner, so he took a photo of it, had it framed and put it in the hospital room. On the 3rd day, he took the dog to visit its owner. According to Gaines, the reunion was amazing. He says everyone cried—Gaines, the man who was in the accident and the man's daughters.

Since helping with the accident, Greg Gaines encourages everyone to be prepared in case they're in a situation where they can help.

He's working now thru FEMA to arrange sheltering for pets in all 18 counties in SW MO...

Gaines also recently volunteered to serve as photographer and public relations coordinator for the MO Funeral Directors Disaster Response Team.

He says he's glad he was able to help out on Feb. 17 and he'd do it all over again in an instant.