Mike Elgas became a hero on a normal morning commute while stopping for breakfast at a local fast food restaurant. An customer had grown belligerent prompting the manager to call 911. Although the responding police officer ultimately declared him free to go, the man suddenly punched the officer in the face and knocked him to the ground. When the man tried to grab for the officer’s gun, Mike jumped in without hesitation. Locking the assailant in a choke hold, Mike pulled back with all his strength and knocked him to the ground, enabling the officer to use a taser device and disable the attacker. The man was arrested and the officer went to the hospital with minor injuries.
Jordan Coppert, a senior and star athlete at Faith Lutheran High School, doesn’t take for granted the positive role sports have played in his life. After realizing many of his peers were unable to participate in sporting activities because of the high cost of sports equipment, Jordan was determined to make a difference. He started out by collecting gently used equipment from members of his church and school. His efforts grew into a community-wide program called Faith-Fuls, which provides low-cost sports gear to underprivileged youth in Southern Nevada. This year, Jordan partnered with Under-Armor to distribute $12,000 worth of new sports gear through their activity day - Faith Community Day. Jordan is passionate about making sure everyone has the opportunity to participate in sports, and is committed to continuing the program even after he graduates.
Noah’s Animal House is a nonprofit organization working side by side with The Shade Tree shelter to provide temporary on-site shelter and care for the pets of the victims of domestic violence. Every 15 seconds, a woman is battered by her partner in the United States. Surprisingly, pets are often the reason preventing women from leaving abusive relationships, especially if the abuser threatens to hurt their pets. Most shelters turn animals away, which consequently turns victims away. Since 2007, Noah’s Animal House has helped erase this critical barrier and empower women to get back on their feet.
While on patrol near Overton NV, Officer Nathan Bradford received a call that a driver had lost control of her vehicle, launching it over a twenty foot embankment and into the Muddy River. Officer Bradford arrived on scene to find the overturned car quickly sinking into the soft river bottom with an injured elderly woman and her dog trapped inside. He immediately shed his heavy gear and jumped into the river. While chest-deep and sinking in the mud, he managed to pry open the car door, lift the woman and her dog up and out to another officer standing on top of the car, and saved their lives.
Nevada National Guardsman Steven Thompson was home with family when his panicked neighbor arrived at his door pleading for help. Specialist Thompson ran next door to find his neighbor’s toddler lying on the ground after being pulled from the hot tub. The child had no pulse, so SPC Thompson instinctively began CPR. He continued for about 10 minutes until finally he felt a pulse. He was so intent while performing CPR that he didn’t even notice the boy’s family, emergency crews and police had gathered around him. The child was hospitalized for about a week, but he is thriving and well today thanks to the quick actions of SPC Thompson.
Dr. Bernstein specializes in the treatment and prevention of catastrophic diseases in children. His work is life-saving, though it often comes with a high treatment cost. Dr. Bernstein refuses to turn away any patient because of the family’s lack of insurance or financial resources. Through the establishment of his Cure 4 the Kids Foundation and aggressive fundraising efforts, Dr. Bernstein ensures these families have the freedom to focus on giving their child the best possible chances of survival and recovery.
Casa de Luz sits in the center of “Naked City”, a region of downtown Las Vegas notorious for gangs, drugs, prostitution and poverty. This “House of Light” serves as the neighborhood’s only church and community center. Founders Laura and Chris Chapel provide free housing, counseling, food, jobs and other resources to the residents of Naked City. For the children, Casa de Luz is a safe haven away from gang activity and prostitution. As many as 80 kids come to the chapel on Sundays, often alone. They come to be fed, have a sense of family and to find a safe place. Laura and her husband are not paid. Everything they have accomplished is through hard work and the help of the community.
Founded by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, ONE DROP is a non-profit organization that invests in sustainable water and management projects in six countries around the world and has impacted 425,000 people. Here in Las Vegas – and in 2014 alone -- ONE DROP has raised over $10 million for global water accessibility. They have also partnered with The Springs Preserve to support water conservation and sustainable living programs in the Las Vegas Valley.
Air Force Staff Sergeant Kyle Demmons was the first witness to a rollover accident across three lanes of North Las Vegas highway. He pulled over to find the car leaking fuel and the unconscious driver trapped between the seat and steering wheel. Disregarding his own safety, SSgt Demmons broke both driver- and passenger-side windows to get to the driver. As the car caught fire, he gathered all his strength to dislodge the driver from behind the steering wheel and pulled him to safety.
Dr. James “Tony” Bakerink has volunteered his pediatric services to The Shade Tree’s youngest residents and victims of domestic violence for the past five years. Every week, Dr. Bakerink provides immunizations and conducts free sick and well child visits at the facility. In 2014 alone, he has provided care to over 100 homeless children free of charge, helping both the children and their mothers reach self-sufficiency, while being healthy and safe.
Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Firefighter/Paramedic Benjamin Kole received an on-duty call that a baby had been delivered without a pulse in a nearby apartment. Once on the scene, Ben ran upstairs and began performing CPR. Knowing the baby’s chances of survival were better the quicker he could get her to the ambulance, Ben continued to perform CPR as he carried her downstairs to the unit. He and his partner administered life-saving treatment until finally they got a pulse and could sustain the baby’s heartbeat. She was then transported to the hospital. After just 2 ½ weeks in the hospital, she was able to go home with her family and is doing very well.