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Hometown Heroes Honored By Red Cross

Regular citizens honored for their commitment to helping others.

On the seventh anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a flight brought down in a Pennsylvania field, the Santa Clarita District of the American Red Cross honored a group of people whose everyday activities could be considered heroic. Nearly a dozen people were singled out during the third annual “Hometown Heroes”
recognition ceremonies.
The honorees were nominated by community members and
co-workers based on the principles and ideals of the American Red Cross’s
humanitarian mission. Criteria included prevention of loss of property,
community impact, leadership or mentoring and lasting impact.


Receiving the event’s highest award – the Jackie Van Hoesen
Award, named after the woman who helped establish the Red Cross office in Santa
Clarita, were Pat and Sheldon Allen, who have volunteered with the Red
Cross for at least two decades. Sheldon serves on the Santa Clarita Valley
District Council and works with his wife, Pat in disaster services, helping
victims by running emergency shelters and evacuation centers, offering aid to
those affected by the Newhall tunnel fire and working with victims of fires and
other natural disasters.


The breakfast ceremonies were also a chance to review
accomplishments for the Greater Los Angeles Chapter from 2007. Relief efforts
included support to those affected by the I-5 tunnel fire and the wildfires
that burned in the Santa Clarita Valley in October.

  • 345 responses to local disaster incidents
  • 354 families received disaster assistance
  • $198,503 was provided for emergency lodging and rental
  • $425,798 was provided for disaster relief
  • $3,884,000 total cost of emergency response


The chapter also helped educate and prepare thousands of
people for disasters and basic needs.

  • 109,777 persons trained in CPR, first aid, aquatics and
    water safety
  • 1,254 persons took California Child Care, care giving, Nurse
    Assistant Training and HIV/AIDS classes and babysitter training
  • 11,477 nurse assistant certification tests were administered
  • 10,698 pieces of disaster education materials were
  • 5,402 persons received community disaster education
  • 3,162 instructors were authorized to teach Red Cross courses
  • 413 youths volunteered
  • 494 young adults (19-24) volunteered
  • 242 seniors volunteered
  • 2,985 total volunteers provided service to the community
  • 20,865 individuals and organizations donated funds to
    support the chapter


The Red Cross also helped with personal emergencies.

  • 1,520 emergency services were provided to armed forces and
    their families
  • 282 National Guardsmen and family members received
    deployment briefings
  • 159 international family services were provided.


And now, the winners of the Hometown Heroes


Stephanie Weiss thanks the crowd for her award


Adult Hero – Stephanie Weiss

Stephanie has lived the SCV since 1967 and has been involved
in many volunteer efforts that have positively impacted families and teens in
our community. Stephanie assisted in setting up the Blue Ribbon Task Force in
2000 to provide information and education to the community about alcohol, drug
and tobacco use by teens.  She has helped
many teens understand the impact of their choices and given parents insight
into substance abuse. Stephanie has positively impacted the lives of many teens
leading them to a more productive and non addicted lifestyle. She also volunteers
her time to the ACTION Parent & Teen Support Program. Stephanie is a past
board member of the American Red Cross and has participated in many fundraising
events for our community over the years.


James Walsh receives the Youth Sports Mentor Award


Youth Sports Mentor
Hero – James Walsh

Jim has been involved in youth development for 28 years in
our community.  He started at the Santa
Clarita Valley Child and FamilyDevelopment
Center and since then has worked in
both  the Newhall and Hart Districts as
well as the Boys & Girls Club. He has demonstrated his commitment to
helping youth his entire lifetime. He served as the Athletic Director of the
Boys & Girls club. He had been responsible for promoting, organizing and
running youth sports leagues including soccer, baseball, football and basketball
across the valley.  He has mentored
thousands of children in teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship. As a referee
he has taught the principles of fair play. As a youth volunteer and mentor Jim
has encouraged kids to believe in themselves and overcome obstacles to be


Youth Heroes – Mrs. Gruber's 4th Grade, Class of 2007-2008

These children are representative of Mrs. Gruber’s
extraordinary 4th grade class from Meadows
Elementary School in Valencia.  These benevolent children were motivated by
their class room mom, Ms. Morris, to bring some joy back into the lives of other
unfortunate children who were victims of the wildfires in our community. The
energy and passion of these children resulted in a donation of more than 461
books.  Most of the books were delivered
to a temporary “store” in the American Red Cross, where families were invited
to come and pick out books they would like. One woman who lost her home in the
fires remarked that the gift of books was very special to her children. 


Military Hero – Tim Stratton

Master Sergeant Stratton served in the US Marine Corp for more
than 23 years.  He works for the City of
Los Angeles now but volunteers much of his time with the Boy Scouts of America,
teaching first aid, basic survival and outdoor training.  2 years ago he helped design the Santa Clarita
Valley young Marines Group and is now Commanding Officer.  He has trained over 30 young men in
leadership, discipline, teamwork, self esteem, basic and advanced first aid and
survival. Tim is determined to see all youth succeed. 


Senior Hero – Ken Schwartz

Ken Schwartz is a JPL retiree who is now dedicated to
disaster preparedness. He has designed a plan to set up ham radio terminals
linking the senior center and other strategic locations throughout Santa
Clarita.  Ken is also very involved in
transportation issues and his advocacy and ideas have resulted in better
service for seniors and the disabled.  He
also volunteers at the Impaired Support Services for the Senior
Center and at the Veteran’s Hospital
in LA.  He is the chairman of the
Accessibility Advisory Committee for Santa Clarita Transit and serves on the
Community Advisory Committee on Access Services for LA County.  Ken has made an enormous impact on the safety
and quality of life for seniors, the disabled and the entire community.


Work Place Hero –  Jim

Jim Tindell is caretaker and lived on the property for Heads
up Therapy on Horseback Ranch in Bouquet
Canyon. When the October 2007 Buckweed
Fire raced toward the ranch, Jim evacuated his wife and children to safety.
After the family was out of harm’s way, Jim did the unthinkable. Risking his
own life, Jim returned to the ranch to try and save the beloved horses that
have brought so much pleasure and special therapy to the lives of countless
children and adults that are physically and mentally challenged. When he
arrived back at the ranch, Jim’s home and other structures were engulfed by
fire. Jim managed to round up and move the horses to what he hoped would be a
safe location. Then he ran more than a mile, falling many times to escape the
fire himself.  By the time he hit safety
he had suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his hands and face. As a result of
his heroism all 12 horses survived. Jim’s selflessness, compassion and bravery
is the very definition of a hero.


Medical Hero – Denise Bleak

Denise Bleak is a registered nurse and infection prevention specialist
for Henry Mayo
Newhall Memorial
Hospital. This year Denise joined
the People to People Citizen’s Ambassador Delegation is dedicated to teach
Chinese people in rural communities. These rural providers are known as “barefoot
doctors,” and provide care in villages far distant from technology and health
services. Denise traveled with the People to People Ambassador to Beijing,
China where she lectured
at the Beijing Regional Performance Improvement Conference to more than 240 Chinese
professionals about infections in the hospitals. Denise has a vast knowledge of
infection control, great teaching skills and the ability to connect with
different cultures. Denise served as a delegate representing the United
States during this speaking engagement.


Educator Hero – Jayme Allsman

Jayme is a high school English teacher at Placerita Junior
High. Jayme is an incredibly generous teacher involved in many activities and
giving of herself to enrich the experiences of her students and peers since
1993.  She has coordinated the annual
week-long trip for eighth-graders to Washington
D.C. and is always available to help
students after school has ended. Some of her many activities include; teaching
a weekend class for remedial students, representing and chairing the Hart
District’s Teacher Association, coordinating the annual Spelling Bee contest,
participating in the Professional Development team and last but not least she
also plays the trombone in the school band. 


First Responder Hero – Artie Thompson

Artie Thompson has been a deputy in the Santa Clarita Valley
Sheriff Station since 1995.  Artie lives
each day surpassing his Sheriff’s duties by contributing in multiple humanitarian
efforts. He gives his time, energy, and compassion to improve our
community.  Some of his contributions
include; being a station liaison for the Special Olympics Organization,
creating and maintaining the Special Needs Registry for children and young
adults with autism, and other developmental and psychological disorders,
coordinates special events such as the Cowboy Festival, Amgen Bicycle Tour, the
Fourth of July Parade and 5K runs.  Artie
is also the coordinator of the SCV Rescue Team and organizer of the sexual
offender registration and monitoring program.


First Responder Heroes – Kevin Doss and Scott Clark

Kevin Doss and Scott Clark are paramedics from Station 73 in
Valencia.  Kevin and Scott responded to a local gym
where they found a 44-year-old man fully alert and talking but in extreme
pain.  The victim was a doctor of chiropractic
and insisted that the episode was simply acid reflux, since he had no history
or previous heart problems.  Despite the
victim’s dismissal of any need for emergency care, these two paramedics
proceeded to perform all their protocols. 
While enroute to the hospital, the victim, Dr. Curtis Garrick, went into
full arrest.  Dr. Garrick has fully
recovered and sought out Kevin and Scott and the Fire Station, telling them “Things
could have turned out so different for my family if it were not for you guys.  I guess the Lord was not ready for me yet.”


To see more pictures from the Hometown Heroes event, click here .


Hometown Heroes Honored By Red Cross

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