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Red Cross Event Honors Kern County Heroes

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We are honored to celebrate these incredible individuals and celebrate 100 years of Red Cross

The American Red Cross of Kern County is hosting the annual Heroes for the American Red Cross gala event on Saturday, April 29, 2017. It will take place at the Bakersfield Marriott, 801 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at

The annual event recognizes local heroes throughout Kern County who are seemingly ordinary people but have touched the lives of community members through their selfless acts of courage. These heroes may have helped save a life, performed an extraordinary act of compassion, or demonstrated an exceptional spirit of giving.

“This year’s heroes are a true inspiration, representing not only the humanitarian spirit of the Red Cross, but the compassion and generosity of Kern County,” said Red Cross Executive Director Barry Falke, “We are honored to celebrate these incredible individuals and celebrate 100 years of Red Cross service in our community.”

This year’s Heroes event also recognizes the centennial anniversary of the local Red Cross chapter, which was founded in 1917.

This year’s Heroes for the American Red Cross are:

Audrey Chavez, Community Partner Hero – Chavez and her husband are the owners of Martin’s Meats, and run a program which allows customers to purchase a sandwich in advance for a stranger in need. Additionally, Chavez founded the Bakersfield AIDS Project and Ricky’s Retreat.

Bee and Rolando Rivera, Good Samaritan Heroes – The Riveras responded to an apartment fire next to their home, rescuing several residents and providing them food and comfort.

Christopher Messick and James King, Law Enforcement Heroes and Kathleen Vochoska, Good Samaritan Hero - Officers Messick and King jumped into a freezing canal to rescue several occupants from a crashed vehicle, while Vochoska stood on the canal bank assisting the victims as they were brought to safety.

Kern County Fire Engine Company 74, Fire Rescue Heroes – Captain Thomas Nicoll, Engineer Brian Allen, and Firefighter Ryder White came to the rescue of a man with Multiple Sclerosis who was trapped in his home during the Erskine Fire. 

Louise Kolar, Health Care Hero – A Red Cross nursing volunteer, Kolar works tirelessly to ensure that people receiving Red Cross assistance have their medical needs met. She is an educator and leader in her field, building the Red Cross Health Services program to better serve the community.

Kern County Animal Services, Animal Rescue Hero – The KCAS team went above and beyond its usual duties during a last summer’s destructive Erskine Fire in order to care for dozen of evacuated animals. 

Ben Patten, Military/Veteran Hero – Patten is the founder of the Armed Forces Support Riders Foundation and an advocate for veterans in the community.

Averee Napier, Youth Hero – Averee organized her friends to raise money for families affected by the Erskine Fire through lemonade and cookie sales. For her 10th birthday, Averee also asked for donations for the Jameson Center instead of gifts for herself, so that she should provide comfort to other kids in need.

Jadeen Costa Schroeder, Spirit of the Red Cross Hero – Schroeder led a massive effort at the Wofford Heights Elks Lodge to collect, sort, and redistribute items donated for families affected by the Erskine Fire.

Journey back in time to the roaring 20’s as the Red Cross celebrates 100 years of service in Kern County, and honors these selfless acts of courage and humanitarian service by real people in our community. Visit to learn more.

About the American Red Cross Central California Region

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The American Red Cross Central California Region provides services to the ten counties across Central California that is home to more than 4 million people. For more information, please visit