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16th Annual Heroes Breakfast to be held on Friday, May 17
SANTA ROSA, CA (April 16, 2019) - The American Red Cross of the California Northwest will be honoring 10 inspirational community members for their lasting impact on the community at its 16th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast on Friday, May 17th, from 7:00 am to 9:00 am at the Hyatt Regency Wine Country in Santa Rosa.
After careful consideration, a committee of local community leaders selected the 2019 California Northwest Red Cross Real Hero Award recipients based on the degree to which their acts of heroism uphold the values of the American Red Cross and leave a lasting and positive impact on the residents of the Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma Counties. The following is a list of heroes who will be honored at this year’s breakfast, and detailed descriptions of each honoree are featured below.
- Service to Animals/Animal Rescue Heroes: Dr. Christi, Moncho and Diego Camblor
- Disaster Services Hero: Jeff Okrepkie
- Environment Hero: John Shelter
- First Responder (Citizen Rescue) Hero: Daniel Hungerford
- Healthcare Hero: Brandie Wilson
- Humanitarian Adult Hero: Elizabeth Quiroz-Vasquez
- Humanitarian Youth Hero: Liam Richardson
- Service to the Armed Forces Hero: Frank Parker
The Real Heroes Breakfast is a signature event in support of the lifesaving programs and emergency services the local chapter provides to the nearly one million residents in Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma Counties. Table sponsorships and individual tickets are still available. To purchase tickets and for more information about the event, please go to redcross.org/CalNWHeroes.
About American Red Cross of the California Northwest
With office locations in Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma 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 redcross.org/calnw or call us at 1-707-577-7600. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
2019 RED CROSS CALIFORNIA NORTHWEST REAL HEROES
Service to Animals/Animal Rescue Heroes: Dr. Christi, Moncho and Diego Camblor (Sonoma County)
In 2001, Santa Rosa veterinarian Dr. Christi Camblor and her husband Moncho created the nonprofit Compassion Without Borders (CWOB) to save as many dogs as possible in areas where they suffer and are euthanized in extremely high numbers. Their nine-year-old son, Diego, helps to foster special-needs dogs at home and is the “kid-friendly barometer” so dogs will be placed appropriately.
Disaster Services Hero: Jeff Okrepkie (Sonoma County)
After losing his home in the Coffey Park neighborhood to the Tubbs fire in 2017, Jeff Okrepkie founded the Coffey Strong community group to help his fellow neighbors organize, rise from the ashes, and rebuild. He also traveled to Redding and Paradise to help those in need with their fire recovery. Jeff turned the darkest time in his life into advocacy for people devastated by natural disasters, especially wildfires.
Environment Hero: John Shelter (Humboldt County)
John Shelter, Founder and Director of The People of New Directions, conducts environmental cleanups in sensitive ecological areas by employing homeless individuals. In 8 years, New Directions has properly disposed of 50 TONS of garbage. New Directions educates and trains the homeless and functions as a conduit and monitor in uniting the community to protect fragile wetlands.
First Responder (Citizen Rescue) Hero: Daniel Hungerford (Del Norte County)
In October 2018, Daniel Hungerford saved an elderly neighbor from a home fire. Daniel heard his neighbor yelling “smoke.” Realizing she would not be able to evacuate unassisted, Daniel ran into the apartment only to be blocked by a coffee table in flames. He threw it across the room and found his neighbor lying helplessly on the floor. He quickly picked her up and carried her out the front door with only seconds to spare.
Healthcare Hero: Brandie Wilson (Humboldt County)
Brandie Wilson, who once battled substance abuse and homelessness, rose above tough circumstances and created the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction to assist others in recovery. With counseling, meals, health care clinics, and new clothes, the center has been able to move people from volunteer positions to stipend peer leader posts and into regular paying jobs.
Humanitarian Adult Hero: Elizabeth Quiroz-Vasquez (Sonoma County)
Elizabeth Quiroz-Vasquez is the President of the Second Chance Club, a group at the Santa Rosa Junior College who welcome students with a similar history to her own of substance abuse, alcoholism, arrests, and incarceration. She is also on the Sonoma County Task Force for Human Trafficking and formed the first support group in the community for survivors of sex trafficking.
Humanitarian Youth Hero: Liam Richardson (Sonoma County)
Liam Richardson is a fifteen-year-old boy with Down's Syndrome and a powerful advocate for individuals with special needs. Liam's efforts brought to life the Miracle League playground and ballpark in Petaluma for special needs children and adults. He continues to act as an ambassador and spokesperson for disabled kids, their siblings, and friends, leading talks and speaking before community groups.
Service to the Armed Forces Hero: Frank Parker (Lake County)
Frank Parker has been the driving force behind providing support and services to homeless and nearly homeless veterans in Lake County for the past six years. His organization, Stand Down, hosts events offering health screenings, transitional housing vouchers, sleeping bags, hygiene kits and information about how to sign up for VA benefits. He is now working with veteran groups in Santa Rosa to start a similar event there.