The Red Cross Los Angeles Region saluted corporate and citizen “heroes” at its Fifth Annual Heroes Luncheon on Oct. 30, 2014 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
Law enforcement officials, representatives from the Los Angeles business community, political officials, and celebrities were on-hand to applaud the actions of five honorees who turned compassion into action and embody the Red Cross humanitarian spirit.
Edward Davis, former police commissioner for the City of Boston who served during the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath, was the event keynote speaker. He discussed the important role that public health officials and the Red Cross played following that terrorist incident.
Los Angeles First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland delivered the opening remarks at the event, which was emceed by Catt Sadler, co-anchor of E! News Weekend and co-host of E! News. Special guest Apolo Ohno, the most decorated medalist in U.S. Winter Olympics history, also participated in the program, which saluted the following honorees:
Community Impact Hero Award - Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Established in 1944, the foundation is dedicated to alleviating human suffering through its grant-making programs and Humanitarian Prize work to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people throughout the world. The Hilton Foundation is a long-time supporter of Red Cross disaster relief efforts.
Corporate Hero Award - Alcoa Fastening Systems and the Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa and its foundation have a long history of helping provide relief to disaster victims, as well as assisting people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Alcoa is a Disaster Responder Member at the $250,000 level and a long-term contributor to the Los Angeles Region’s PrepareSoCal Campaign.
Citizen Hero Award - Officer Donald Thompson, Los Angeles Police Department
On Christmas Day 2013, off duty Officer Donald Thompson saw a car veer out of control on the opposite side of the freeway and crash into the concrete center divider. He stopped his truck and jumped over two dividers to reach the wreckage. Officer Thompson managed to free the elderly man from his seatbelt and pull him to safety. Within moments, the entire vehicle was engulfed in flames.
Citizen Hero Award Adult Honoree – Tony Tolbert
Since 2012, Tony Tolbert, an associate director of admissions and outreach for the UCLA School of Law, has opened his South L.A. home to struggling mothers and children, often from abusive situations. Charging only $1 a month in rent, Tony has generously provided four families with a safe haven while they get back on their feet.
Animal Welfare Honoree - The North Central Shelter Intervention Program & Charlie the Dog
The North Central Shelter Intervention Program (NCSIP)’s mission is to help people keep their pets. Charlie arrived at the NCSIP’s downtown L.A. facility in critical condition after being shot by an intruder who had broken into her family’s home. Since the family did not have the resources to pay for Charlie’s surgery, the staff at the NCSIP started a crowd-funding campaign, and within 24 hours $8,000 was raised. Unfortunately, Charlie’s leg had to be amputated, but he is well now and lives with his family.
The American Red Cross L.A. Region thanks the luncheon’s Presenting Sponsors: Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Big 5 Sporting Goods and Edison International.
Patron Sponsors include Disney, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Herbalife, Nestle, Wells Fargo and Westfield, and Supporting Sponsors are Alcoa Fastening Systems, Bank of America, California Community Foundation, City National Bank, Farmers Insurance, Grant Thornton, Mattel, Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. Topson Downs, Toyota and Winston & Strawn LLP.