Teachers who used CPR to save the life of a colleague. A woman who for weeks made sure Rim fire first responders and evacuees were fed. A law enforcement team that rescued a toddler from an arson fire.
These are among the people of Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties whose extraordinary acts will be recognized at the American Red Cross’ annual Heroes Breakfast on June 11.
This year’s honorees were nominated by members of the community for saving lives, performing first aid and CPR, providing support to military veterans and much more.
Briefly, here are this year’s Red Cross heroes of Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties. The Bee will have more on them in Sunday’s Lifestyles section.
ANIMAL RESCUE HEROES: Firefighters Shaun Walker, Paul Arai and Mike Rebensdorf of the Turlock Fire Department saved a 65-pound German shepherd from a cement shaft at the Turlock Waste Quality Control facility.
GOOD SAMARITAN HERO, ADULT: Steven Debry of Ceres is an advocate of blood donation. He donated blood to save his father’s life and is a regular volunteer for Delta Blood Bank who has personally donated nearly 10 gallons of blood.
GOOD SAMARITAN HERO, YOUTH: Henry Hauschildt of Soulsbyville saved a child from drowning at his grandparents’ residential community at Cedar Ridge Lake.
LAW ENFORCEMENT HEROES: Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Deputies Douglas Adams, Juan Alanis, Aaron Costello, Joseph Delgado, Manuel Garcia, Steve Hatzigeorgiou, Shilo Humble, Tom Letras, Joe Knittel, Wayne Whitfield, Brian Wilson and Andrew Winter; Sgts. Kevin Davis, Joshua Humble and Marc Nuno; and dispatchers Jeanette Bowles and Michelle Ott, as a team, helped to rescue a 2-year-old girl from a mobile home fire that had been intentionally set.
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL HERO: Registered nurse Mavis Barnard of Modesto advocated for a Nicaraguan family injured in a major accident in Yosemite National Park. Her work kept the children united as their parents recovered from their injuries.
MILITARY HERO (ACTIVE DUTY): Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Gamino of Ripon is an Army veteran of 26 years, including two tours in Afghanistan. Now an Army reservist working for the Department of Defense, he also gives his time in service to Camp Taylor, a camp focused on the needs of children with heart defects.
MILITARY HERO (VETERAN): Steven Loya of Patterson has worked for six years to support fellow veterans by helping to develop programs such as a veterans bowling league and radio-controlled flying squadron.
MILITARY HEROES (VETERAN): Joe Madden and Richard Madden of Modesto help veterans who are too ill to travel by VA transport. The men personally transport veterans to medical appointments at Northern California VA hospitals and clinics, helping them to and from their residences and remaining by their sides for appointments.
PROFESSIONAL RESCUER HERO: Michael McLaughlin of Patterson provided care that saved the life of a child who suffered respiratory failure during the 2013 Patterson Apricot Fiesta.
WORKPLACE HEROES: Denise Bianchi, Beth Crowley, Rosaura Contreras, Karen Hart, Rachel Walsh-Ponce and Jon Webb, all staff members at Oakdale Junior High, used CPR to save the life of a fellow teacher.
BETTE BELLE SMITH SPIRIT OF THE RED CROSS: Registered nurse Jonathan Carroll of Turlock jumped into action when a traffic crash ignited one of the vehicles involved. He pulled a 3-year-old child from a burning truck, saving the boy’s life.
HERO OF THE YEAR: Wendy Dart of Jamestown was invaluable when last year’s Rim fire tore through the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County, forcing many local communities to evacuate. For more than two weeks, a Red Cross shelter stood at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora. Dart coordinated logistics for the delivery of all meals to those at the shelter and first responders battling the blaze.