Blue Eagle Credit Union employee named Red Cross Corporate Hero for distributing free smoke detectors

ROANOKE, Va. – Andrew Alegre makes a living helping people with their finances at Blue Eagle Credit Union, but he is this year’s Red Cross Corporate Hero for helping people stay safe in case of an emergency.

“I’m very passionate about helping people out, especially the people that need it," Alegre said. "Just do your part.”

Alegre decided to distribute smoke alarms to Roanoke’s Spanish-speaking immigrants. Alegre, who speaks Spanish, said he felt it was his duty to assist the Red Cross.

“They were having trouble in the Spanish community to get out there and communicate with these folks in order to install smoke alarms in their house," Alegre said. “My parents, they’re immigrants. They came to this country when they were very young, and they struggled when they got here.”'

Alegre said many of the Spanish-speaking immigrants he knows in the Roanoke Valley struggle to get by and sometimes lack vital items, including smoke detectors. With that in mind, he asked his church youth group to help him go door-to-door with free smoke detectors.

“I mentioned the program and they all raised their hand and said, ‘Take me, I want to go,’” Alegre said.

Alegre soon discovered the door knocking could have likely saved lives.

“The majority of these folks had them, but they were expired, old, and the batteries didn’t work," Alegre said. "Either that, or they didn’t have them at all.”

He said he’s grateful the immigrants he met are now safe, but he does not consider himself a hero.

“There’s no specific person that is a hero," Alegre said. "I think everybody, in my eyes, can be a hero.”

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