Event raises over $131,000 for Red Cross services
SAN DIEGO – October 22, 2019 – A woman who helped a stranger escape his burning car. YMCA lifeguards and staff who saved a member’s life. A blood donor who encourages others to donate after blood donations saved his life. On Friday, October 11, the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties honored these heroes and more at the 17th Annual Real Heroes Awards Breakfast aboard the USS Midway Museum.
Every year, the Real Heroes Awards 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 were thrilled to recognize these outstanding heroes who acted with selfless bravery, heartfelt compassion and extraordinary courage,” said Sean Mahoney, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties. “This year’s award winners brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance along with pride and appreciation for their willingness to jump into action and serve their community.”
The Real Heroes event is one of the largest fundraising events for the local Red Cross and this year’s event raised over $131,000 for the organization. Funds support the mission of the Red Cross, including emergency preparedness training, disaster response and relief efforts, and much more.
Since the event’s inception, over 100 local residents have been honored. The 2019 Real Heroes award recipients include:
- Spirit of Hope Award: Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Jonathan Morales and Oscar Stewart. On Saturday, April 28, 2019, Oscar Stewart, a U.S. Army veteran, and Jonathan Morales, an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent, risked their lives to stop a gunman who walked into the Chabad of Poway with a rifle and opened fire on worshippers, killing Lori Gilbert-Kaye and injuring three others, including Rabbi Goldstein.
- Fire & Rescue Award: David Kreamer, Kaitlyn Hart, Alec Liske and Jason Milosh – Dan McKinney Family YMCA. The quick actions of the lifeguard and operations staff at the Dan McKinney Family YMCA saved the life of YMCA member Peter Kaufman when he suffered cardiac arrest. Presented by Local Firefighters 145
- Law Enforcement Award: Randall Gray and Fernando Martinez – El Cajon Police Department. Officer Gray and Officer Martinez saved a woman and her toddler from an apartment fire. Presented by Kaiser Permanente
- Military Award: Colonel Thomas M. Fahy – United States Marine Corps. Colonel Thomas Fahy stopped a woman from jumping off the Coronado Bridge, saving her life. Presented by USS Midway Museum
- Community Partner Award: San Diego Gas & Electric. SDG&E is at the forefront of community partnerships for emergency preparedness and wildfire response, committed to improving systems, protocols and tools to keep the community safe. Presented by U.S. Bank
- Animal Welfare Award: Ginny Scharbarth – Kathy’s Legacy. After Ginny Scharbarth’s daughter Kathy was tragically murdered by an abusive boyfriend, Ginny founded Kathy’s Legacy, an organization that supports survivors of domestic violence including children and pets.
- Youth Good Samaritan Award: Karolyn Curtis. Karolyn is a 17-year-old social justice advocate who works to aid those in need and improve her community through Morse High School's One World Club, Student Equity and Youth Ambassador programs. Presented by SDG&E
- Good Samaritan Award: Cheryl Lundgren. Cheryl used a box-cutter she just happened to have in her pocket to cut the seatbelt of a man trapped in a burning car. With assistance from another good Samaritan, Cheryl pulled him to safety and waited for emergency personnel to arrive. Presented by Mutual of Omaha Bank
- Humanitarian Award: Maribel Padilla – Brown Bag Coalition. Maribel founded the Brown Bag Coalition to assist the homeless population in Calexico with food and personal hygiene items. Presented by Ford Motor Company
- Bill Trumpfheller Community Leadership Award: Honor Flight San Diego. Each year, Honor Flight San Diego, a non-profit branch of the nationwide Honor Flight Network, takes hundreds of local veterans from WWII, the Vietnam War and the Korean War to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at the military memorials built in their honor. Presented by Sycuan Casino
- Gift of Life Award: Kyle Kraska. In February 2019, Kyle Kraska and CBS News 8 held the inaugural Celebration of Heroes Blood Drive to honor the first responders, doctors and blood donors that helped save Kyle’s life after he was shot six times. More than 310 units of lifesaving blood was collected and the second annual Celebration of Heroes Blood Drive is scheduled for February 13, 2020. Presented by San Diego Business Journal
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
- Gift of Life
- Good Samaritan
- Law Enforcement
- Youth Good Samaritan
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.
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