You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

2016 Award Recipients (Amador, Calaveras and San Joaquin Counties)

Animal Rescue: Laughton Ranch Feed and Supply

Animal Rescue: Laughton Ranch Feed and Supply

Jim and Bobbi Laughton, owners of Laughton Ranch Feed and Supply, opened their facilities to Butte Fire’s evacuated pets and livestock that had no place to go as the blaze threatened their homes. Beyond providing a place for hundreds of animals to stay, the staff, volunteers and donors working with Laughton Ranch ensured that animals had attention, water, food, and veterinary care.


Adult Good Samaritan Hero: Humberto Sanchez

Adult Good Samaritan Hero: Humberto Sanchez

In the summer of 2015, Humberto Sanchez responded with extraordinary courage to save a mother and her two children from their burning car. Mr. Sanchez was working when he witnessed a car crash. He ran to the scene and pulled a woman, a three-year-old, and a four-month-old baby from a vehicle. Minutes later, the vehicle became fully engulfed in flames.


Good Samaritan – Youth: Brayan Arellanes

Good Samaritan – Youth: Brayan Arellanes

On New Year’s Eve 2015 Brayan suffered second-degree burns over much of his body while rescuing his 14-year-old brother and nine-year-old sister from a home fire that destroyed their home and all of their belongings. The fire was sparked by their Christmas tree. Brayan found his siblings in the fire and pushed them through windows to safety before their home was totally destroyed by the fire.


First Responder: Eric Edwards

First Responder: Eric Edwards

Eric Edwards was on a camping trip in Santa Cruz. While he was relaxing at Manresa State Beach he heard someone yelling for help from the water. Mr. Edwards called for his friends to call 911, then grabbed a boogie board and splashed into the water. After some searching and exertion, Mr. Edwards located the drowning man and was able to get him to safety. Mr. Edwards rescued Orlando Villalobos a resident of Santa Cruz who is happy to be alive, thanks to Eric.


Military Hero: Al Gilbert

Military Hero: Al Gilbert

Like many military members, Al Gilbert, A Vietnam Veteran Navy Seabee, wears his military service with pride. Part of the national ‘We Honor Veterans’ program, Vet-to-Vet matches’ veterans in hospice care with an era-appropriate vet. Mr. Gilbert volunteered and was paired with a fellow veteran. Gilbert not only gave care and comradeship, but helped his family as well. Mr. Gilbert works tirelessly and continues to help dozens of clients.


Workplace Hero: Colleen McCarthy

Workplace Hero: Colleen McCarthy

During the Butte Fire of 2015, Jackson Rancheria generously made its staff and facilities available for fire evacuees, by establishing a shelter at the hotel. Colleen McCarthy was on hand when a woman in the shelter became distraught, ran from the shelter and disappeared from the area. She had recently lost her husband and her home had just been destroyed by the fire. Ms. McCarthy initiated a search and the client was found, unharmed. Later, in a letter, the woman told Ms. McCarthy that she saved her life.


Spirit of the Red Cross: Bennet Omalu

Spirit of the Red Cross: Bennet Omalu

Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first to publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players. Dr. Omalu’s autopsy of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster in 2002 led to his discovery of CTE. Mr. Webster had died suddenly and unexpectedly, following years of struggling with cognitive and intellectual impairment. Dr. Omalu suspected Mr. Webster suffered from dementia pugilistica, a form of dementia induced by repeated blows to the head.


Red Cross Hero: Carl Vigneau

Red Cross Hero: Carl Vigneau

American Medical Response implemented an annual National CPR Day Challenge and Carl Vigneau, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for AMR, stepped up and asked to take the lead on the project. In their first year, Mr. Vigneau and his team taught Hands-Only CPR to about 500 people in Stockton. As the 2015 event approached, Mr. Vigneau again wanted to take on the project and aimed to double the number. Mr. Vigneau and his team hit the streets of Stockton and were able to surpass their goal… teaching Hands-Only CPR to 1,014 people.


Volunteer Heroes: Paul Keaton and Dennis Lewis

Volunteer Heroes: Paul Keaton and Dennis Lewis

Mr. Keaton stepped up and took on the job of Red Cross Volunteer Leader to keep the team of volunteer community responders active. The day the Butte Fire broke out he immediately began making calls in case shelters were needed. When the offer came from Jackson Rancheria, he was ready to respond. The call to open came at 11:00 pm and Mr. Keaton and his team opened the shelter doors at 11:45 pm. Together they maintained the night shift throughout the few weeks the shelter was open.

Dennis Lewis has been a devoted Red Cross volunteer for many years. Dennis became more than a leader during the Butte Fire response. He was the chief of operations for this wildfire which became the seventh most destructive wildfire in California’s history. Mr. Lewis continues to help with the recovery process.