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Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter Raises $180,000 at Annual Heroes Celebration

Jim Burns

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Photos from the event can be found here:

[San Jose, CA – December 14, 2017] Nearly 200 business leaders and guests joined the American Red Cross of the Silicon Valley on September 28 for its Centennial Heroes celebration. A signature event each year for the local Red Cross chapter, this year's luncheon honored six community members and one organization for acts of courage or compassion. The event, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, raised approximately $180,000 in support of Red Cross services and programs.

“The American Red Cross is proud to honor extraordinary people in our community who have made a difference in the lives of others at home and around the world,” says Ken Toren, the Chapter's Chief Executive Officer. “On the 100th anniversary of the Red Cross being in Santa Clara County, this year's Heroes event — more than ever — reminded us that any person can be a hero at any time or any place.” 

Each year at the Heroes celebration, the Silicon Valley Chapter salutes local community members in Silicon Valley for actions that exemplify the values of the Red Cross.

At the September 28 event, Dr. Richard Slavin was honored with the chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is presented to a local community leader whose achievement, influence, and commitment in their field embody the principles of the American Red Cross – humanity, impartiality, independence, neutrality, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

A committee of local community leaders also selected the following for actions that have had a lasting and positive impact on Silicon Valley:

•  Quyen Mai, San Jose – Disaster Services Hero
•  Ric Smith and Jenna Garner-Smith, Los Gatos – Disaster Services Heroes
•  Nadia Ghaffari, Los Altos – Health and Safety Hero
•  Dr. Harpreet Pannu, San Jose – Health and Safety Hero
•  All the Way Home Campaign, San Jose – Service to the Armed Forces Hero

Because this year's Heroes event took place during the Chapter's centennial celebration, the luncheon also honored the contribution of local Red Cross volunteers who, for the past 100 years, have made the communities in Silicon Valley safer and more prepared.

The 2017 Heroes Centennial was made possible by the generosity of our sponsors – Presenting Sponsors: Accenture, Camille McCormack, Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Health, and PG&E; Gold Sponsors: El Camino Hospital and E-Nor; Silver Sponsors: Chris Carlton; and Bronze Sponsors: ActionCOACH of Santa Clara, Patti Fry and David Hauk, Northern Trust, and Terry and Irene Unter.

The actions of each of this year's honorees are summarized, below.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Richard Slavin
Dr. Richard Slavin has shaped the way medical care is delivered in the Silicon Valley and beyond. He was a principal architect of the 2000 merger of Camino Medical Group and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF). Dr. Slavin served as president of the Camino Division of PAMF until 2010, when he became PAMF’s CEO until he retired in January 2016. During his tenure with PAMF, Dr. Slavin led a period of unprecedented growth, including the design and construction of distinctive new medical centers in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and San Carlos. Under his leadership, PAMF’s patient base reached 1 million; simultaneously PAMF was recognized statewide and nationally for exceptional quality and patient experience. (see video)

Disaster Services Hero: Quyen Mai – San Jose
Quyen Mai is the Executive Director of the Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation (Vivo) in San Jose; while the organization’s initial mission was job training and placement, Mai updated the mission a few years ago to be more focused on community service, education, and culture. During the local flooding this past winter, the organization played a huge role in providing relief to the Vietnamese community — no small task because San Jose is now home to the largest number of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam. (see video)

Disaster Services Heroes: Ric Smith and Jenna Garner-Smith – Los Gatos
Jenna Garner-Smith and her husband Ric Smith, residents of the Santa Cruz Mountains, found themselves in the middle of last year’s Loma fire zone. When the fire broke out, the couple filled a large stock trailer with animals and drove them down their mountain road to safety. Jenna then went to work, battling the blaze for two weeks. The couple's home remained undamaged due to the excellent job they did clearing the brush from around their home; because of that, their home became a Red Cross relief center, providing support and supplies to over 30 families. (see video)

Health and Safety Hero: Nadia Ghaffari – Los Altos
Nadia Ghaffari, a senior at Los Altos High School, has started a nonprofit organization with a growing teen community called Driven by clusters of teen suicides in a neighboring school and by her own experience with friends, Ghaffari wanted to find a way for teens to cope with stress and mental health issues. Realizing that teens would be more open to talking to other teens about their problems, Ghaffari’s organization and web site allows teens from around the world to upload videos about their aspirations, challenges, and setbacks. (see video)

Health and Safety Hero: Dr. Harpreet Pannu – San Jose
Dr. Harpreet Pannu is an Internist at Kaiser Santa Clara, and in his spare time, he runs a free medical clinic at the Sikh Gurdwara, Gurdwara Sahib of San Jose. Located in the Evergreen area of San Jose, the gurdwara is the largest in North America. Opening in November 2014 with a mission to provide healthcare to the uninsured in the community, the clinic is open only on Sundays for two hours. Dr. Pannu and his volunteers greet long lines of people from the surrounding community, all of whom are hoping to receive health care at the clinic. (see video)

Service to the Armed Forces Hero: All the Way Home Campaign – San Jose
With Santa Clara County having among the highest rate of unsheltered homeless veterans in the country, the All the Way Home Campaign has established an ambitious goal: to end veteran homelessness by the 100th anniversary of Veteran’s Day in 2018. The City of San Jose, the County of Santa Clara, the Housing Authority of Santa Clara, and Destination Home are all collaborating to address this community crisis. (see video)


About the American Red Cross of the Silicon Valley
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. The American Red Cross of the Silicon Valley serves the residents of Santa Clara County.  For more information on disaster preparedness, health and safety classes, volunteer opportunities, and financial contributions, visit our website at or call us at 1-877-727-6771. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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