SAN DIEGO – October 19, 2018 – A teenage girl who evacuated an apartment complex during an early morning fire. Local firefighters who saved an injured woman during the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting. A man who saved his neighbor’s baby from an apartment fire. On Friday, October 12, the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties honored these heroes and more at the 16th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast aboard the USS Midway Museum.
Every year, the Real Heroes Breakfast honors ordinary people with extraordinary courage. Nominations are submitted by the public, and are chosen by a selection committee based on the extent to which nominees embody the spirit and mission of the Red Cross.
“We are fortunate to live in the midst of so many heroes. Our Real Heroes event takes the time to honor those who bravely and courageously serve our communities in vital, but sometimes uncelebrated ways,” said Sean Mahoney, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties. “This year’s honorees have all done extraordinary work and we’re pleased to recognize them.”
The Real Heroes event is one of the largest fundraising events for the local Red Cross. This year’s event raised over $124,000 for the organization. Funds will be used to support the mission of the local Red Cross, including emergency preparedness training, disaster response and relief efforts, services for military service members and their families, and much more. This year, a portion of the proceeds will go toward the purchase of a new emergency response vehicle.
Since the event’s inception, over 100 local residents have been honored. The 2018 Real Heroes award recipients include:
Special Award: Cory Iverson – Cal Fire San Diego. In December 2017, Cory tragically lost his life while fighting the Thomas Fire in Ventura County and will be remembered as a true hero - a dedicated firefighter, a devoted and loving family man, and so much more.
Fire-Rescue Award: Bruce and Tricia Pollett – San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Bruce and Tricia Pollett were attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival where they saved the life of a woman shot in the crowd. Presented by Local Firefighters 145
Law Enforcement Award: Sergeant Patrick Vinson, San Diego Police Department (retired). Sergeant Patrick Vinson made himself available as a living kidney donor so that SDPD Detective and friend Art Calvert could receive a desperately needed kidney. Presented by Mutual of Omaha
Military Award: Jaqualin Johnson – United States Navy. Petty Officer First Class Jaqualin Johnson stopped a woman from jumping off the Coronado Bridge, saving her life. Presented by USS Midway Museum
Community Partner Award: Carlsbad Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). When the Lilac Fire swept through Northern San Diego County, Carlsbad CERT volunteers rushed to establish a shelter and evacuate residents to ensure everyone’s safety. Presented by U.S. Bank
Animal Welfare Award: San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement Division. San Diego Humane Society team members dedicate every day to animal welfare, including evacuating animals during local disasters and flying to hurricane responses to rescue stranded animals. Presented by San Diego Business Journal
Youth Award: Sophia Righthouse. While driving to Miramar, the Righthouse family spotted an apartment fire. Sophia bravely evacuated and calmed residents while firefighters were on their way. Presented by SDG&E
Adult Award: Ahmad Shorish. A former military interpreter in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Ahmad is no stranger to dangerous situations. Shortly after moving to the U.S., Ahmad rescued his neighbor’s baby from an apartment fire, risking his own life while also losing his own family’s belongings in the fire. Presented by Kaiser Permanente
Humanitarian Award: Virginia and Brent Fremmerlid. As a host family for Safe Families for Children, the Fremmerlids have dedicated their time to the welfare of children and have opened their home to over 30 children during times of family crisis. Presented by Ford Motor Company
Bill Trumpfheller Community Leadership Award: Brandon Steppe – Founder, The David’s Harp Foundation. The David’s Harp Foundation encourages academic success in homeless and at-risk teens, who can exchange good grades for music education and recording time at The David’s Harp Foundation studios. Presented by Sycuan Casino
To see the videos highlighting each winner, please click here. To view photos from the event, please click here.
This year’s Real Heroes Breakfast is generously sponsored by San Diego Gas & Electric as the Hometown Hero sponsor and co-presenting sponsors Crux, Sycuan, and U.S. Bank along with numerous other sponsors at the regional, community and neighborhood levels.
Real Heroes nominations are accepted year-round in the following categories:
- Animal Welfare
- Community Partner
- Bill Trumpfheller Community Leadership
- Fire - Rescue
- Law Enforcement
To nominate a hero, visit redcross.org/sandiego/realheroes. For more information about the local Red Cross, including ways to volunteer and get involved, please visit redcross.org/sandiego.
About the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties is the most trusted community service organization in education, preparation and response to natural disasters and human emergencies. With the public’s ongoing support, we provide lifesaving preparedness training; disaster relief services; services to deployed military personnel and their families, and nutritional counseling through our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Through Prepare San Diego, a regional resiliency initiative, the Red Cross brings together key community and business leaders from the region to create a sustainable network that encourages preparedness, carries out response and recovery plans, and strives for resiliency in the face of disaster, meeting all aspects of the disaster lifecycle. 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, please visit redcross.org/sandiego or connect with us on Facebook and YouTube and Twitter.