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Red Cross honors the heroes among us
Turlock fire personnel Shaun Walker, Paul Arai, and Mike Rebensdorf are being honored by the Red Cross for their rescue of a German Sheppard who was stuck in a shaft at a water treatment plant. - photo by Photo Contributed

The American Red Cross is honoring those individuals who have shown courage and compassion when called into action with their annual recognition ceremony.

The local chapter of the Red Cross is hosting their annual Heroes Breakfast today. This annual event pays special tribute to local everyday heroes who have performed heroic acts. This year’s honorees were nominated by members of the community for such selfless deeds as saving lives, performing First Aid/CPR, and providing support to military veterans. The list also includes several Turlock individuals.

Animal Rescue Hero: Shaun Walker, Paul Arai, and Mike Rebensdorf of the Turlock Fire Department are being honored for saving a 65 pound German Sheppard from a cement shaft at Turlock Waste Quality Control facility in February. The fire fighters found the dog on the bottom rungs of a ladder at the bottom of a 15 to 20 foot shaft. The fire crew was able to lower a harness and secure it to the dog’s torso. With the help of Turlock Police officers and Turlock Water Quality employees, the dog was hoisted out of the shaft. Engine 32 named the dog Tyler in honor of 6-year-old Tyler Seddon, a Rhode Island boy battling leukemia for a second time. Tyler has a passion for fire fighters and emergency responders. The dog was put into the custody of the Germen Sheppard Rescue of Sacramento Valley and renamed Tilly. She was recently adopted by her foster family.

Good Samaritan Hero – Adult: Steven Debry of Ceres is a devoted advocate of blood donations. He is a regular volunteer for Delta Blood Bank and has personally donated nearly 10 gallons of blood, including some that went to save his own father’s life.


Good Samaritan Hero – Youth: Henry Hauschildt of Soulsbyville saved a child from drowning at his grandparent’s residential community at Cedar Ridge Lake.


Law Enforcement Heroes: Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies Douglas Adams, Juan Alanis, Aaron Costello, Joseph Delgado, Manuel Garcia, Steve Hatzigeorgiou, Shilo Humble, Tom Letras, Joe Knittel, Wayne Whitfield, Brian Wilson, Andrew Winter, Sgts. Kevin Davis, Joshua Humble, Marc Nuno, and dispatchers Jeanette Bowles and Michelle Ott, acted as a team, to help rescue a 2-year old girl from a mobile home fire that had been intentionally set by her father. The father, Juan Miguel Macias, had threatened to burn the Waterford home down with his daughter inside and when law enforcement saw smoke starting to come from the residence they forced their way inside and rescued the young girl and took the father into custody.


Medical Professional Hero: Mavis Barnard, a Modesto nurse, advocated for a Nicaraguan family injured in a major accident in Yosemite National Park. Her work kept the children united as their parents recovered from their injuries.


Military Hero – Active Duty: Sgt First Class Michael J. Gamino of Ripon is an Army veteran of 26 years, and served two tours in Afghanistan. Now an Army Reservist working for the Dept. of Defense, Gamino spends some of his time in service to Camp Taylor, a camp focused on the needs of children with heart defects.


Military Hero – Veteran: Steven Loya of Patterson has worked to support fellow veterans by helping to develop programs such as a Veteran’s bowling league, and Vet Center Radio-Control Flying Squadron for the past six years.


Military Hero – Veteran: Joe Madden and Richard Madden, both of Modesto transport veterans to medical appointments at Northern California area VA hospitals and clinics when the veterans are too ill for VA transport. They also help them to and from their residences and remain by their side for appointments.


Professional Rescuer Hero: Michael McLaughlin of Patterson provided care and saved a child’s life when the child suffered respiratory failure during the 2013 Patterson Apricot Festival.


Workplace Heroes: Oakdale Junior High staff members Denise Bianchi, Beth Crowley, Rosaura Contreras, Karen Hart, Rachel Walsh-Ponce, and Jon Webb used CPR to save the life of a fellow teacher.


Bette Belle Smith Spirit of the Red Cross: Jonathan Carroll, a Turlock nurse, jumped into action when he saw a traffic collision that caused one vehicle to burst into flames. He was able to a 3-year old child from the burning truck and save his life.


Hero of the Year: Wendy Dart of Jamestown coordinated logistics for the delivery of all meals to those at the Red Cross shelter and first responders battling the Rim Fire blaze for more than two weeks.