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Red Cross Central Coast Chapter raises $55,000 at annual Heroes Breakfast

More than 250 people, including 13 honorees, joined the American Red Cross of the Central Coast at a recent event to pay tribute to community members for their selfless acts of courage.

This article was contributed by American Red Cross Communications Manager Jim Burns.

More than 250 people, including 13 honorees, joined the American Red Cross of the Central Coast at a recent event to pay tribute to community members for their selfless acts of courage. The 13th annual Heroes Breakfast, which took place on June 15 at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos, also raised approximately $55,000.

The Heroes Breakfast is a signature event for the local Red Cross chapter. It benefits the numerous lifesaving programs and services the chapter provides, including responding to local disasters, collecting lifesaving blood, teaching skills that can save a life, and assisting military members and their families.

“We are very appreciative of the amazing support we received from the sponsors and the many individuals who attended this year's Heroes Breakfast,” said Michele Averill, CEO for the Central Coast Chapter serving Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties. “Because of their generosity, the Red Cross is there when we are needed most by the people who live in our three local counties."

The honorees, nominated for the Hero Awards by members of the general public, were selected by a committee of local leaders who considered the degree to which their heroic actions benefited their communities and upheld the values of the American Red Cross. The following 13 individuals were honored at this year’s banquet:

  • Animal Rescue Hero: Darla Smith
  • Disaster Services Heroes: James Gruber and Paul Guzman
  • Education Hero: Mary Gaukel Forster
  • Environment Hero: Shelby O’Neil
  • First Responder Heroes: Dan Perry, Forest Gleitsman, Ziad Bawarshi
  • Humanitarian Hero – Adult: Jessica Berg
  • Humanitarian Hero – Youth: Matthew Gibbs
  • International Services Hero: Tammy Renfer
  • Medical Hero: Arthur Dover, M.D.
  • Service to Armed Forces Hero: Angel Hernandez

Their stories are described here.

Photos from this year's breakfast can be found here.

Videos of this year's Heroes can be viewed here.

This year's breakfast was generously supported by our Platinum Sponsor, Dignity Health; our Gold Sponsor, Capital Insurance Group (CIG); our Silver Sponsors, Carl's Jr. and Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System; our Bronze Sponsors, Bay Federal Credit Union, FOX Factory Inc., Jackson Family Wines, Radiology Medical Group Inc., and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk; and other supporters that included KB Farms, KSBW 8/Central Coast ABC/Estrella TV Costa Central, KSCO Radio, Monterey Herald, Roaring Mouse Productions, Santa Cruz Sentinel, and Twin Lakes Church.


About American Red Cross of the Central Coast:
With offices in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz 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 or call us at 831-624-6921. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.



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