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2013 Marin County Heroes Announced

SAN RAFAEL, CA (September 24, 2013) – The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter will honor recipients of the 2013 Marin County Heroes Awards at the annual Heroes Breakfast on Thursday, October 3, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Rafael. The program recognizes local individuals and organizations that make a difference in their community through acts of extraordinary courage and kindness. This year’s honorees include the following Marin County citizens and organizations:

Lifesaving Heroes, Individual: Oliver Hawkes and Ernie Bates,

  • The Branson High School freshmen found and rescued a 32-year-old man offshore at Stinson Beach who was unconscious in the water.
  • Victim will attend breakfast.
  • Public Safety Heroes: Captain Graham Groneman, Marin County Fire Department; Robert Custer, U.S. Coast Guard; Pilot Paul Bradley and Deputy Sheriff Debbie Little, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department

  • A small boat capsized in the surf off of Dillon Beach near the mouth of Tomales Bay where five victims were in the water and two children trapped under the hull. This multi-disciplinary team of rescue professionals responded to the scene to airlift the at sea victims and cut and release the children from the boat.
  • PHOTO Opportunities: On duty Pilot and Deputy Sheriff will fly down in Henry 1 helicopter for breakfast
  • Act of Courage Heroes: Brian Swanson, Lane Rodriguez-Dickens, Collin Rodriguez-Dickens, and Jesse Barnett

  • Members of the Eagle Scout Troop 76 of Terra Linda came to the rescue of a climber, stuck 50-feet from the summit of 14,500-foot Mt. Whitney. They were able to use their Scout First Aid training, mountaineering, lifesaving, and knot-tying skills to rescue the climber.
  • Act of Kindness Hero: Reverend Betty Pagett

  • Reverend Pagett came up with the idea to transition homeless families from emergency shelters to permanent housing at Oma Village.
  • Community Service Hero, Organization: Marin County Medical Reserve Corps

  • Using more than 300 local volunteers, the MMRC provides support for public health disaster responses in Marin County working closely with the Red Cross to help in a variety of activities including: teaching CPR to local communities, providing health services to workers participating in disaster drills, and hosting “Sidewalk CPR,” teaching people how to use “hands-only” CPR.
  • Community Service, Individual: Carlos Garcia-Bedoya

  • Carlos is an active Red Cross volunteer and regularly contributes to the local Hispanic community through his volunteer efforts with Canal Alliance, the Canal Youth and Family Council, and the larger Marin community through his service on the Marin Community Clinic Board of Directors.
  • Animal Rescue Heroes: San Rafael Fire Department, Marin Mounted Sheriff’s Posse Large Animal Rescue Unit, San Rafael Sheriff’s Dept., Marin Humane Society, Dr. James Williams, DVM; and Ad-Lite Crane Co., Matt De La Montanya.

  • This team worked together over several hours to rescue a horse named Buddy who had fallen into a 30-foot deep dry well at China Camp State Park by pumping 1,000 gallons of water into the well so he would float to within reach to be kept calm, harnessed and eventually hoisted to safety.
  • Horse owner Linda Boyd will attend breakfast.
  • Special Tribute: Joan Capurro

  • Joan Capurro, retiring Senior Vice President and Director of Community Relations for the Bank of Marin, has been a pillar of the greater Marin Community and was drafted in 1983 to join the Board of the Marin County Red Cross Chapter. Although she has served on many non-profit and community service boards over the years, she has remained a loyal proponent of the Red Cross wherever she serves.
  • The actions of these Heroes embody the principles and ideals of the Red Cross’ humanitarian mission. For more information or to purchase tickets for the Heroes Breakfast event, please visit: or call the Marin Heroes Breakfast Chairperson, Carol Freedman, at 415-721-2380 to request tickets.

    More Information about the Breakfast:

    The Marin County Heroes Breakfast on Thursday, October 3, will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., with registration at 7:30 a.m. Local ABC News anchor Cheryl Jennings will Emcee the awards program.

    Tickets are $35 each and may be purchased at: or by calling the Event Chairperson, Carol Freedman at 415-721-2380 to request tickets.

    It will be at the Embassy Suites, Hotel Ballroom,101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael.

    Proceeds benefit disaster relief and readiness efforts throughout the Bay Area.

    Sponsors of the 2013 Marin County Heroes Breakfast include: Kaiser Permanente, Marin Independent Journal and Bank of Marin.

    About the Heroes Awards Program

    People in the Bay Area make a difference in the lives of others in their communities every day. The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter and civic leaders from six counties in the Bay Area are joining to celebrate everyday heroism, recognizing those individuals and organizations whose extraordinary acts of kindness and courage make them heroes. American Red Cross chapters around the country hold events in their communities to recognize acts of heroism by local residents and pay tribute to those who have performed lifesaving acts. Each year, nearly 900 people attend events in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Solano Counties to honor local heroes. For more information about the events and corporate sponsorship opportunities, please visit All proceeds from the events support the disaster preparedness and relief efforts of the American Red Cross in the Bay Area.

    About American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter

    As a community-based, humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter provides relief to those affected by disasters and empowers individuals in our community to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. By helping people in the Bay Area learn how to take care of their families and neighbors, the Red Cross strengthens the community and makes it ready for all types of disasters, including home fires, earthquakes, wildfires, and health emergencies. Call 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443-5722) or visit to learn more. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.