2013 Real Heroes Stories

  • SML 10th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast

This year’s Real Heroes Breakfast highlighted the stories of 10 compassionate heroes. Supported by generous sponsors and approximately 400 guests, the event raised over $150,000 to support essential Red Cross services in three counties.

Please enjoy the inspiring stories of the 2013 Real Heroes, as well as our local Red Cross volunteers.

Volunteers - Fran Condon, June Albor, Jim Plank

Volunteers down the block, across the country

Platinum Sponsor: Pacific Gas & Electric

Three local Red Cross volunteers, June Albor, Fran Condon (both of Santa Rosa) and Jim Plank (Kelseyville, Lake County) have hearts as big as any hero’s. Their generosity, kindness and dedication, as well as images of Hurricane Sandy and other disasters, was featured in the Real Heroes Breakfast’s final video.

Red Cross logo

A decade of Real Heroes: 10th Anniversary Sponsor

Gold Sponsor: Jackson Family Wines

Over the past 10 years, we’ve honored 115 local heroes for their work.

View the Real Heroes photos for the first nine years.

Dr. Paula Dhanda

Medical: Dr. Paula Dhanda, Kelseyville

Gold Sponsor: St. Joseph Health

As a young girl in Bombay, Dr. Paula Dhanda watched her father, a surgeon, serve the city’s large indigent population, providing free medical care to those who could not pay. She now follows in his footsteps by providing women’s health services to women in impoverished countries, and also trains and educates their local health providers to be able to serve their own communities better.

Austin Morris

Humanitarian Youth: Austin Morris, Ukiah

Gold Sponsor: Wells Fargo

Then 17-year-old Austin Morris joined an environmental study with Project Kaisei on the 151-foot brigantine Kaisei. Standing night watch, he risked his own life to save the life of another student crew-member who had fallen overboard into the icy waters. The vessel was moving along in more than 30 knots of wind, and in heavy seas with 10-12 foot swells, and both could have been swept overboard to their deaths.

Trevor Kasimoff

Heroic Deed: Trevor Kasimoff, Rohnert Park

Silver Sponsor: American AgCredit

Twenty-three year old Trevor Kasimoff spotted flames coming from a neighboring apartment and ran to the scene. There he found people trapped on the second story of the blazing building. He encouraged a mother who was dangling a small child out the window to drop her two children into his arms below. Then the mother and another woman dropped from the window as well. He saved the lives of several grateful residents.

Dr. Elaine Leeder

Education: Dr. Elaine Leeder, Sebastopol

Silver Sponsor: Amy’s Kitchen

Early on in her life Dr. Elaine Leeder, Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State University, committed her life to social justice and championing the underdog. For the past several years she has been providing classes to inmates who are serving 15 years to life at San Quentin prison, enabling them to understand themselves and how social class and upbringing contribute to criminality.

Adam Garcia

Law Enforcement: CHP Officer Adam Garcia, Lake County

Bronze Sponsor: Eileen Adams

CHP Officer Adam Garcia was the first to respond to a collision between Lower Lake and Hidden Valley. Upon arrival, he found one passenger outside of the smoldering car with two others trapped inside. He approached the vehicle as it became engulfed in flames, and proceeded to risk his own safety as he pulled each of the two victims to safety.

Tim Murphy

Rescue Professional: California Peace Officer/Lifeguard Tim Murphy, Bodega Bay

Bronze Sponsor: Kaiser Permanente

Lifeguard Tim Murphy saved the lives of three people struggling in rough surf at Wright’s Beach. He first swam to a female having difficulty staying afloat, and secured her to a life tube. He then swam to a man and a young boy, secured them to the tube, and then while encouraging the three victims to stay alert, he towed them about 200 yards out to calmer waters until a Coast Guard boat arrived.

Mark Anello

Animal: Mark Anello, Bodega Bay

Bronze Sponsor: Medtronic

Bodega Bay Fisherman Mark Anello and his two-man crew rescued a gray whale from life-threatening entanglement in fishing lines. Previous rescue attempts had been made from Laguna Beach, and up the coast for over two weeks. The risky rescue took 90 minutes before the whale was able to take a deep dive to freedom.

Stefan LeRoy

Military: Army Specialist Stefan LeRoy, Santa Rosa

Bronze Sponsor: Merrill Lynch

While in Afghanistan, Pfc. Stefan LeRoy risked his life while running to the aid of a wounded soldier. As he approached, he stepped on an improvised explosive device, which resulted in partial loss of both legs, and multiple other injuries. Promoted to Specialist after the incident, his enthusiasm for life have led him to ski, compete in marathons, and swim with sea turtles in the Virgin Islands. His positive attitude is a true inspiration to others.

Mary Munat

Environment: Mary Munat, Windsor

Sponsor: Sonoma Raceway

Helping to build a cleaner and healthier planet has been a lifetime passion for Mary Munat, also known as Green Mary. She has dedicated her life to educating and encouraging people about the importance of preserving our environment by promoting “non-garbage” wherever she goes. She has turned her passion into a business, Green Mary Zero Waste Events, to lessen the trash buried in landfills.

Matthew Nalywaiko

Humanitarian Adult: Matthew Nalywaiko, Santa Rosa

Bronze Sponsor: Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa

Helping others has been a lifetime passion for Matthew Nalywaiko. After volunteering for service in various countries, he was compelled to help those in need locally. He enlisted many volunteer repair people and founded “Serve a Little,” a service providing repairs and handyman services to single mothers and military wives needing help for the safety and well-being of their families.