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Red Cross Announces 2013 Alameda County Heroes

Oakland, CA (September 16, 2013) – The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter will honor recipients of the 2013 Alameda County Heroes Awards at the Breakfast on Friday, September 27, at the Hilton Oakland Airport in Oakland. The annual Alameda County Heroes Breakfast 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 Alameda County citizens and organizations:

Act of Courage Hero

• Officer Michael Taylor resolved a situation involving a man who was threatening patrons at a local barbershop in Newark with a knife.

• Sergeant Fredrick Kotto bravely stopped a robber from stealing a woman’s purse on the Dublin/Livermore BART.

Act of Kindness and Philanthropy Hero

• Laura Graham, a sophomore at Bishop O’Dowd High School, created 1 Closet, a program, which collects gently used and new clothing and has been able to donate more than 12,000, garments to several partner social service organizations around the Bay Area.

Animal Rescue Hero

• Sara O’Brien fought against the odds to rehabilitate a two-month-old, abused dog, Gilhooley, who everyone else had given up on.

Community Service Hero, Individual

• John Flotten has volunteered at the Valley Humane Society for more than four years where he runs the “Ani-Meals” program, which distributes dog and cat food and animal supplies to eligible low-income families.

• Officer Louie Brandt reinstated the San Leandro Police Officers Association and Davis Street Resource Center to bring back the “Bikes for Tykes” holiday program to purchase bikes and helmets for underprivileged children.

Community Service Hero, Organization

• Oakland Firefighters Random Acts is a charity created by dedicated Oakland firefighters who make a difference in their community not only by responding to emergencies but by assisting at-risk families and individuals even after the incident occurs.

Lifesaving Heroes

• Kathy Hamilton and Peter Beireis worked together to administer CPR and activate an AED on a 52-year-old unconscious male in Newark until medical personnel arrived.

• Officer John Kaanehe assisting in saving the life of a newborn who had been delivered at home and was unconscious.

• Officer Tom Cobb responded to a call where an infant was not breathing, quickly assessed the situation and administered CPR to save the infant’s life.

Blood Services Hero

• Marc Hirshman has made more than 233 donations at the Oakland Blood Donation Center over the past several years, approximately accounting for more than 58 gallons of blood!

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:

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 together 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.