American Red Cross honors 11 ‘Inland Empire Heroes’ – Press Enterprise

To the American Red Cross, these 11 people and organizations are everyday heroes

The group recognized them late last month at the 2019 Inland Empire Heroes Luncheon at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside.

The  honorees were applauded because they “embody the mission and spirit of the Red Cross by saving lives and creating safer, stronger and more resilient communities,” a news release states.

“Our award winners truly demonstrate a willingness to go above and beyond to help those in need,” Lois Beckman, chapter executive director of the American Red Cross Serving Riverside County, said in the release.

The honorees are:

Gift of Life Hero: Thomas Van Dorn

The Moreno Valley resident works for the city of Azusa. Every other Saturday since 1997, he drives 100 miles round trip to Fullerton to make platelet donations. He does it because, in 1995, his 5-year-old son, Mitchell, died of cancer and platelet donations helped the boy’s blood form clots to stop bleeding, the release states. Van Dorn has given more than 1,000 units of platelets in the past 21 years, according to the release.

Animal Welfare Hero: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Girard and his dog, Dare

Girard was key to the launch of the department’s Bloodhound K-9 program at the Rancho Cucamonga station. Dare was one of his first K-9s and has helped find missing youths and apprehend criminals.

Water Rescue Hero: Officer Elizabeth Gomez

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a home where a 5-year-old girl was found motionless at the bottom of a pool. Gomez, who was based at the Rancho Cucamonga station, performed chest compressions and watched the girl until paramedics arrived. The girl recovered, the release states. Gomez is now a Fountain Valley Police Department officer.

Youth Hero: Mylee Howe

For a school-required community service project at Santa Rosa Academy in Menifee, Mylee sought donations from churches, businesses, friends and family members for Hope’s Community Closet in the Temecula-Murrieta area. Her Sock It To Me project netted more than 500 pairs of socks and underwear.

Service to the Armed Forces Hero: Linda Hallenbeck Pelegrino

During the Vietnam War, Pelegrino joined the Red Cross on assignments to Korea, and then to Vietnam, the release states. Upon her return home, she worked with the Red Cross at a San Francisco hospital. Now retired, Pelegrino lives in Indian Wells in the Riverside County desert.

Service to the Armed Forces Hero: Sgt. Major Gregory Coker

A veteran, Coker in 2013 created the Riverside-based Reaching New Heights Foundation, Inc., which helps Inland veterans move into life as civilians. The foundation offers job training, job placement, counseling and therapy. It also runs a veterans’ home in Ontario to help homeless veterans.

Community Hero: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Jones

Jones helped develop the department’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement team, which tries to remove homeless people from the streets. Jones has helped more than 1,200 people get out of homelessness, the release states.

First Responder Hero: Hemet Police Officer Andrew Reynoso and K-9 Duke

In May, Reynoso and Duke were chasing burglary suspects, when a truck struck the dog and nearly hit Reynoso. Though injured, Duke continued the chase and apprehended one suspect, the release states. Both suspects were later prosecuted. The dog returned to full duty.

First Responder Hero: Redlands Police Cpl. Breanna Herrera

On a hot July day, Herrera smashed the window of a car parked at the Mountain Grove shopping center to rescue a small infant who was not moving and an overheated toddler. She turned them over to Redlands Fire Department emergency workers when they arrived and both survived. Firefighters said the vehicle’s inside had reached about 138 degrees, the release states.

Corporate Hero: Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians

The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians has long helped the American Red Cross. For example, during the 2007 wildfires, Pechanga opened its ballroom near Temecula as a Red Cross shelter for the community and fed hundreds. Pechanga also is an annual Disaster Preparedness Ready 365 donor and a disaster-response donor.

Corporate Hero: MOD Pizza

MOD Pizza began donating gift cards for blood donors and expanded its support from the Inland area into Orange and Los Angeles counties. Its contributions help encourage people to give and to do so more often.


READ  Joy Reid is Taking MSNBC's TV Viewership to New Heights


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here