(LOS ANGELES, November 5, 2015) – Dolores Huerta, the iconic civil rights leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers, received the American Red Cross L.A. Region Lifetime Hero Award at the 6th Annual Heroes Luncheon held Nov. 5. The event, which was attended by more than 250 business and civic leaders, celebrates the accomplishment of individuals and organizations whose acts of courage, kindness and extraordinary inspiration make them a hero.
Huerta, a two-time U.S. Presidential Award recipient, applauded the Red Cross for engaging and educating community members, especially those in vulnerable communities about how to prepare for and respond to disasters.
“You can take on issues in your own community,” said Huerta. The life-long community organizer and social justice advocate underscored that her message to people, (a message echoed by the Red Cross) is, “in order to give any sort of disaster relief, to be effective, it´s always a lot better if the community is also prepared to assist”. She ended her speech by leading the packed room at the Biltmore Hotel with a “Viva Red Cross” chant.
Lt. Col. Robert Friend, who is the oldest surviving member of the famed World War II African American Tuskegee Airmen, also was honored with a Lifetime Military Service Award. The skillful pilot had a distinguished career in the Air Force and later the private sector in aerospace.
Los Angeles-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. was awarded the Corporate Hero Award for its long-standing support to members of the military and veterans. As an Elite Member of American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program, Reliance helps the Red Cross connect military families with resources in their communities every day.
“Citizen Hero” awards went to Karma Rescue Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to saving animals by finding them permanent homes, as well as Sean Krejci, founder of Kind Traveler, the first digital 'Give + Get' platform to transform travelers into a financial force that benefits the well-being of communities, the environment, and animals. “Since childhood the Red Cross has been interwoven with the things I was already doing,” said Krejci “So many times it turned out that the Red Cross was leading the effort.”
ABC7 Eyewitness News co-anchor Michelle Tuzee emceed the event: “I am proud to represent KABC, which has been a long-time friend of the Red Cross, and through our partnership we have raised $11 million to help people globally and here in Southern California.” Earlier this year, ABC7 held a telethon for the victims of the Nepal earthquake, raising more than $200,000.
L.A. Region CEO Jarrett Barrios recognized and thanked the event’s co-presenting sponsors Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, Big 5, and Edison International, “who help the American Red Cross achieve its mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies,” said Barrios.