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Red Cross Announces 2014 San Mateo County Heroes

San Mateo, CA - The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter will honor recipients of the 2014 San Mateo County Heroes Awards at the Heroes Breakfast on Thursday, May 29, at Poplar Creek Grill in San Mateo. The annual event recognizes local individuals and organizations that make a difference in their community through acts of extraordinary courage and kindness.

Members of the San Mateo County Heroes Breakfast Committee are proud to announce this year’s winners:

  • Act of Courage Hero: Mike Rolen
  • While a six-alarm fire swept through an apartment complex, Mike Rolen rescued three individuals, an infant, the infant’s mother, and a man in a wheelchair from the burning building in Redwood City.

  • Animal Volunteer Service Hero: Mark Borson
  • Mark Borson is an active volunteer with the Peninsula Humane Society (PHS) providing pet assistance for over 16 years to families who have just been through a fire or other emergency.

  • Community Service Hero, Youth: Ryan Traynor
  • In a mission to reduce gang activity in Redwood City, Ryan Traynor created the Youth Literacy Council with the mission to improve literacy in their community. He has recruited and managed 70 volunteers and inspired 850 individuals to donate books.

  • Community Service Hero, Organization: Hillsborough Girl Scout Troop #31175
  • The Hillsborough Girl Scout Troop #31175 has made a valuable contribution toward resiliency in their community by creating an innovative and informational video series on emergency preparedness. They include segments on staying connected, creating an emergency kit, training, evacuation planning, and keeping your home safe that can be found on YouTube.

  • Act of Kindness Heroes: San Mateo County Office of Education
  • Spearheaded by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, the San Mateo County Office of Education encouraged students from 38 schools in San Mateo County to create more than 3,000 special Valentine’s Day messages for Bay Area veterans.

  • Lifesaving Hero, Adult: Ed Flank
  • Certified in Community Emergency Response Training (CERT), Ed Flank did not hesitate when he was eating dinner with his family and friends in Half Moon Bay when a man at a neighboring table began choking. Ed performed stomach thrusts immediately and stayed with him until he was able to breathe.

  • Tom Lantos Humanitarian Award: Shirley Temple Black
  • The Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross presents the Tom Lantos Humanitarian Award to an organization or individual who is dedicated to promoting, defending, and advocating internationally recognized human rights, stirring the consciousness of world leaders and the local community alike.

    The award also serves to commemorate the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the U.S. Congress and a prominent advocate for human rights during his nearly three decades as a U.S. Representative.

    Shirley Temple Black began her diplomatic career when she co-founded the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies, building its membership to 19 countries and intensifying her interest in world affairs.

    We honor Ambassador Black’s contributions and note that her diplomatic and humanitarian efforts throughout her lifetime will continue to positively impact our county, our country, and our world for generations to come.

    Master of Ceremonies for the program will be Supervisor Don Horsley and the featuring keynote speaker will be SFFD Assistant Deputy Chief Dale Carnes.

    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 prepare for, respond to, and recover from 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.