After a year and a half in the wringer due to the pandemic, civil unrest and economic uncertainty, it’s time to honor the community heroes who put it all on the line for the well-being of the City.

The 27th New Heroes Celebration, sponsored by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. in a virtual program.

“Welcoming our outstanding educators, police, fire fighters, and this year honoring our health care heroes, is something that no other community does,” said Laurel Rosen, president of the Santa Monica Chamber. “This event offers our community a chance to say thank you. These are our unsung heroes, and they deserve this recognition.”

Santa Monica’s annual tradition will kick off with an opening welcome from Mayor Sue Himmelrich. Guests can also expect to hear words of encouragement from the City’s new Police Chief Ramon Batista along with new City Manager David White. Senator Ben Allen will speak to the heroes who risked their lives and dedicated countless hours to uplift and safeguard Santa Monica.

“We are deeply moved by the extraordinary contributions of these individuals, and I join the Santa Monica Chamber in celebrating their service,” said Allen. “It has been a challenging year for the City of Santa Monica and these vital organizations stepped up to care for us in our time of great need.”

Each year, regular Santa Monicans are honored for being anything but average.

This year’s event will celebrate Healthcare Heroes from UCLA Health, Kaiser and Providence; Lizzy Moore, Dean of SMC Foundation, will be honored as the Educational Hero; and this year’s Young Inspirational Hero will be Isabella Carbonari from New Roads School.

The Santa Monica Fire Department Firefighter honoree is Captain Mike Fitzgerald, and the Santa Monica Police Department honoree is Officer Jayme Jacinto.

While all police officers dedicate themselves to public safety, Officer Jacinto went above and beyond her call of duty. She has the great responsibility of carrying out SMPD’s initiatives and projects for youth engagement and development. At the Police Activities League, Jacinto has worked closely and relentlessly with their staff to meet the challenges of the COVID pandemic. Her hard work has allowed PAL to continue to offer supervision and programming to the children who heavily rely on it.

During the last year, SMFD honoree Captain Fitzgerald had to deal with two once in a career events. First was the riots of 2020 where he organized a very complex base camp for several days, which supported hundreds of fire, police, National Guard and Public Works personnel. Second was of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. Fitzgerald created a support system for supplies so essential workers in the City had resources to do their jobs effectively. Fitzgerald also worked around the clock in the distribution of vaccines for first responders.

Education Hero Lizzy Moore spearheaded SMC Foundation’s meal project just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Meal project food programs are all free of charge to qualifying college students and provide fresh produce and shelf-stable groceries through a weekly drive-through. Under Moore’s leadership, SMC was able to distribute over 200,000 meals and 50,000 bags of groceries to local students, foster youth, homeless individuals and veterans.

“We have to find a way to be grateful for the people who are willing to put themselves out there, whether it’s to protect us, whether it’s to educate us, whether it’s to serve a meal,” said Rosen. “We have to really remember that they’re all making a choice to show up and in this environment that’s not always easy, and we really appreciate that. We’re really grateful for that.”

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