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Red Cross Celebrates Volunteers in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties

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APTOS, CA (June 1, 2017) — The American Red Cross of the Central Coast honored 27 volunteers and two organizations from Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties at its annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner at Seascape Golf Club in Aptos.

The evening's top award, the Clara Barton Award, was given to Rick Martinez of Santa Cruz County. The award, named after the founder of the American Red Cross, recognizes a volunteer for service in a series of leadership positions held over a number of years.

Currently serving as deputy police chief for the City of Santa Cruz, Martinez has a long history with the Red Cross that includes time spent working side-by-side with volunteers after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Eventually, Martinez was recruited to be on the Santa Cruz County Red Cross Board; in that capacity, he has provided steady leadership to fellow board members, Red Cross staff, and other volunteers throughout the Central Coast.

While the annual event spotlights a number of key volunteers, dinner emcee Michele Averill said the event is designed to acknowledge all of the Red Cross's local volunteers. "Our volunteers take on a variety of important roles in serving our communities," says Averill, CEO of the Central Coast Chapter. "All of our volunteers give selflessly of their time, and the Red Cross would not be able to provide the help and support we do without them."

Other volunteers honored at the dinner include:

•  Administration and Support Award: Susan Thornhill of Santa Cruz County and Lee Hedgepeth of Monterey County

•  Biomedical Services Award: Deborah Blankenship of Santa Cruz County and Christina Alvarez of Monterey County

•  Biomedical Services, Volunteer of the Year Award: Penny Mount of Monterey County, Sharon Hawkins of San Benito County, and Marie Thompson of Santa Cruz County

•  Community Engagement Award: Rayvon Williams and Darryl Davies of Santa Cruz County

•  Collaboration Award: Suresh Sethuraman and Anna Marie Gotti of Santa Cruz County

•  Disaster Cycle Services, Outstanding Support Award: Pamela Breslin of Monterey County, Christine Brown of Santa Cruz County, and Daniel Kemper of Monterey County

•  Disaster Cycle Services, Exceptional Response Award: Danny Webster of Monterey County

•  Disaster Cycle Services, Extraordinary Commitment and Dedication: Howard Yancey of Santa Cruz County

•  Disaster Cycle Services, Exceptional Leadership: Janet Packard and Steve Purcell of Santa Cruz County

•  Good Neighbor and Partnership Award: PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company)

•  International Services Award: Carrie Mann and Meredith Rupp of Monterey County

•  New Volunteer of the Year Award: Nick Brown of Santa Cruz County

•  Regional Volunteer Leadership Award: Lorraine Jacobs of Santa Cruz County

•  Service to Armed Services Award: William Soliz and Tony Virrueta of Monterey County

•  Teamwork Award: Sandy Williamson of Santa Cruz County

•  Volunteer of the Year Award: Craig Jenni of Santa Cruz County

•  Youth Services Award: San Benito High School, located in Hollister in San Benito County

In addition, a number of people were honored at the event for the number of hours they volunteered to the Red Cross in 2016.

Photos from the dinner can be found on the Central Coast Chapter's Flickr site:

Become a Red Cross Volunteer
You can make a difference in Monterey, San Benito, or Santa Cruz County by becoming a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Volunteers constitute about 94 percent of the total Red Cross workforce to carry out our humanitarian work. Red Cross volunteers are trained to meet the needs of those affected by disasters, providing food, shelter and comfort for families affected by major disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes as well as helping local residents prepare for and recover from emergencies of all kinds.  We’ll find the position that appeals to you and allows you to use your skills and talents. Email to get started.


About American Red Cross of the Central Coast:
With offices in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties, the American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit our web site at or call us at 831-624-6921. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.