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Red Cross Announces Santa Cruz County Heroes

SANTA CRUZ, CA (March 26, 2013) - The American Red Cross Santa Cruz County Chapter is looking forward to the upcoming 2013 Heroes Breakfast on May 15, 2013 from 7 to 9 a.m. at the historic Cocoanut Grove Ballroom, on the shore of beautiful Monterey Bay and adjacent to the world famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Members of the Heroes Committee are proud to announce this year’s winners of the Hero Awards, which recognize members of the community who have shown courage, dedication, and character through acts of heroism and kindness:

Animal Rescue (Nominated by Ann Parker)

  • Lynne Achterberg of Santa Cruz has dedicated the past 24 years to an organization she helped found in 1989, Project Purr, a feral cat advocacy group resolved to humanely reduce feral cat overpopulation throughout Santa Cruz County.
  • Education (Nominated by Noel Bock)

  • Stephanie Raugust pioneered the Food Lab lunch program at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, which gives students in grades 5 and 6 a chance to plan and prepare daily student lunches.
  • Good Samaritan (Nominated by Sandy Lansdale)

  • Kevin Koch of Santa Cruz bravely saved the life of his neighbor who was on oxygen and not very mobile from her house, which was on fire.
  • Law Enforcement (Nominated by Erin Schaefer)

  • Deputy Sheriff Patrick Dimick of Aptos saved a 13-year-old girl and her mother who were attacked by her ex-husband in Live Oak thanks to his accurate assessment of risk and excellent decision-making.
  • Lifetime Achievement (Nominated by Laura Marcus)

  • Chuck and Susan Hawley of Santa Cruz have fostered more than 30 children in desperate need of caring parents. These children ranged from medically fragile newborns to teenagers.
  • Medical Professional (Nominated by Mark Riley)

  • Matt Ryan, Scott Vahradian and Greg Vandervoort have worked together to create the ‘Save a Student’ program, a collaboration between local public school districts, Santa Cruz County EMS Departments, and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation to give proper AED training at each school and maintain AEDs.
  • Military Hero (Nominated by Sandy French)

  • Tony Rojas of Watsonville performs military honors at the funerals of veterans with the Honor Guard of VFW CA Post 1716. He has honored veterans from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
  • Rescue Professional (Nominated by Kevin Fink)

  • Public Safety Dispatcher Anna Kiff of Santa Cruz was able to calm and reason a suspect who was threatening to drive two small children into a wall at 100 mph with persistence, professionalism, and empathy.
  • Workplace Hero (Nominated by Martina O’Sullivan)

  • David Kwan saved the life of a Dominican Hospital employee by performing abdominal thrusts when he recognized she was choking on her food thanks to the CPR training he had received a year prior.
  • Youth Hero (Nominated by Linda Lovelace)

  • Autumn and Simone Bushard, high school aged youth from Ben Lomond, have put a remarkable effort to gather nutritious, organic food to distribute to low income families, seniors, and the disabled by working for Valley Churches United to collect donations from vendors at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market, which has resulted in over $26,000 in fresh organic food.
  • Eleanor Wasson Lifetime Volunteer (Nominated by Sean Sheehan)

  • Milt Entwisle has been a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer for more than 45 years in Santa Cruz County. Though he is in his 90s, he continues to contribute to safe boating by supporting the Auxiliary’s public education efforts.
  • Title sponsors include Dominican Hospital, Dignity Health Medical Group, Dominican, Physicians Medical Group and Wells Fargo. Media sponsors include KSBW, ABC Central Coast, Joyce Anderson Productions, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 92.7 KTOM, 105.1 K-OCEAN, KDON, and KSCO AM 1080. Table sponsors include Granite, Jeffree Lee Estate Planning, Santa Cruz County Bank, Palo Alto Medical Foundation-Sutter Health and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Red Cross Supporters include Roland and Pat Rebele and Thompson, Kontz, Brenner and Carter, Attorneys at Law. Red Cross Advocates include Cartwright, Scruggs, Fulton and Walther, Attorneys at Law and Pajarosa Floral. The event will be hosted by KSBW Reporter Phil Gomez.

    The Santa Cruz County Chapter helps our community to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, and all funds raised at this event help support local disaster relief. For more information, please visit our website at or contact Camilla Boolootian at (831) 600-4909 or

    About the Heroes Celebration

    The Heroes Celebration event has been held at American Red Cross chapters across the country for over 11 years. The goal of the event is to recognize acts of heroism by local residents and pay tribute to those who have performed lifesaving deeds while supporting the local American Red Cross Chapter’s life-saving programs and emergency services.

    About American Red Cross Santa Cruz County Chapter

    The American Red Cross Santa Cruz County Chapter is a non-profit, humanitarian organization that depends on the generous contributions of time and money from Santa Cruz County residents and companies to provide services and programs that help our community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. For more information on disaster preparedness, health and safety classes, volunteer opportunities, and financial contributions, visit our website at or call us at 831-462-2881. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.