WASHINGTON (AP) -- Tired from a day of volunteer work, Charla Moye was ready to relax when she returned home one afternoon. But after a driver plowed into her neighbor's yard -- and the woman's three children -- Moye charged out to the scene.
"We are the ones who save lives at the bedside or in the community," the Tampa, Fla., nurse said at a ceremony honoring her and 14 other nurses for extraordinary acts of heroism.
Holding the hand of the 8-year-old whom she met two years earlier when the girl lay on the pavement bleeding and without a pulse, Moye said her actions were purely instinctual -- something nurses share in life-threatening situations.
Whether plunging into choppy waters to save a fellow kayaker, crawling under an overturned truck to help a trapped driver, or rescuing victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, all of the nurses honored at the American Red Cross National Headquarters had one thing in common: pride in their profession.
"This tells the real story. People hear about the negatives of the nursing profession, but nurses hold skills to act alone and have a lot of knowledge," Nancy McKelvey, chief nurse at the American Red Cross said at the event sponsored by the American Red Cross and Nursing Spectrum.
Citing long hours, irregular schedules and the increased educational and professional opportunities as reasons for the declining numbers of nurses, McKelvey said she hoped the biannual event would get people to think differently about the profession.
There are roughly 2.7 million nurses in the United States, McKelvey said.
Lt. Col. Patricia Horoho was honored for treating, evacuating and rescuing the wounded after terrorists struck the Pentagon where she was working last Sept. 11.
"My being a nurse led me to the impact site where I could make a difference instead of in the other direction where it was safe," said Horoho, 42, of Washington.
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