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Red Cross Announces Santa Cruz County Heroes

(Santa Cruz, CA) - The American Red Cross Santa Cruz County Chapter is looking forward to the upcoming 2014 Heroes Breakfast on May 14, 2014 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 Hero (Nominated by Melanie Sobel)

  • JP Novic of Scotts Valley has been dedicated and involved in animal welfare in Santa Cruz County for more than 25 years, particularly at the center for Animal Protection and Education (CAPE), an animal welfare organization that provides additional medical, foster, and behavioral care to make animals highly adoptable.
  • Community Hero (Nominated by Lisa Uttal)

  • Phil Kaplan of Santa Cruz has impacted thousands of people in the Santa Cruz community over the past 35 years by creating a healthy environment for athletic competition and overall mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Education Hero (Nominated by Sandy Lansdale)

  • Cheryl Samios of Santa Cruz is a tireless advocate for students and is responsible for bringing the nationally recognized program, Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) to Pacific Collegiate School. WEB mentors and provides 8th graders with the proper resources to succeed.
  • Good Samaritan Hero (Nominated by Jill Hitchman)

  • Daron Pisciotta of Scotts Valley saved a young man’s life by performing CPR until the Scotts Valley Police arrived with a defibrillator.
  • Law Enforcement Hero (Nominated by Patsy Gasca)

  • Coresta Salas of Watsonville has been dedicated as a recreation coordinator for the Wastonville Police Activities League (PAL), a crime prevention program that creates ties between police officers, recreation leaders, parents, and youth through education, athletic, and recreational activities. Through her work, youth violence and gang membership have significantly decreased in Santa Cruz County.
  • Medical Professional Heroes (Nominated by Cathy Conway)

  • Vanessa Little, Tree Dunbar, and Emmi Schambeck work together to perform heroic work with hospice patients and families in Santa Cruz County with their gift of presence, mindfulness, and compassion.
  • Military Hero (Nominated by Jeremy Lansing)

  • Dean Kaufman of Santa Cruz, a former Army veteran, is a dedicated social services provider who has transformed the services that veterans from all walks of life are able to receive in Santa Cruz County.
  • Rescue Professionals (Nominated by Patricia Depalo)

  • Retired Fire Captain Jerry Freeman and Firefighters Clayton Ogden, Ryan Baker and Ben Bynes demonstrated their heroic actions during a shoot-out between alleged murder of Loran “Butch” Baker and Elizabeth Butler and police officers as they saved the life of Patricia Depalo not once, but twice.
  • Workplace Hero (Nominated by Jill Reddy)

  • Vincent Ceniseroz is a dedicated Comcast technician and his actions exemplifying his concerns for others was apparent during two separate incidents where he was a critical part of saving client’s lives because they were unconscious.
  • Youth Hero (Nominated by Al De Camara)

  • At the tender age of 12, Tenaya Greeninger saved the life of two 11-year-old boys caught in a rip current at Rio del Mar Beach by combining her skills as a surfer, trained junior lifeguard, and her desire to save others.
  • Eleanor Wasson Volunteer Award (Nominated by Joe French)

  • Jim and Jeriann Bosso have trained over 600 Sea Scouts youth, made up of boys and girls between the ages of 13-21 to learn navigation, boating techniques on the Bosso's Sea Scout ship named Steeves, a 63-foot trawler. Their diligent and enthusiastic work, along with their financial support, has touched the lives of many of our local youth.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award (Nominated by Rose Filicetti)

  • Lori Butterworth, with boundless energy, has dedicated her life to improving the lives of children and young people by advocating healthcare policy initiatives, empowering young student leaders, and supporting families through challenging times.
  • Title sponsors include: Dominican Hospital, Dignity Health Medical Group, Dominican, Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz 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: Santa Cruz County Bank, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Fox Racing Shox, Al Decamra Management, Jeffree Lee Estate Planning, and Bay Photo

    Red Cross Supporters include: Cartwright, Scruggs, Fulton and Walther, Attorneys at Law.

    Red Cross Advocates include: California 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

    Thank you to our Heroes Selection Committee

    Jeff Terpstra, Rudy Escalante, David Fulton, Peter Otvos, Rick Martinez, Mary Anne Carson, Mardi Browning, Lynn Robinson, Martina O’Sullivan, Carina Cervantez Rhonda McCormack

    About the Heroes Celebration

    This annual event honors local individuals whose actions exemplify the true spirit of heroism through their courage, dedication and character. All proceeds from this event support the work of the local chapter’s 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 prepare for, respond to, and recover from 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.