CPR: Anthony Diaz (center) was one of two Santa Monica employees who saved a man’s life. Diaz and Jose Barron (not pictured) were recognized along side other community heroes by the Red Cross this week. Courtesy photo

Marilyn Jimenez / Special to the Daily Press

From performing CPR when a stranger collapses at a community gym to pulling someone from a burning car or home, Los Angeles is full of brave and courageous heroes. 

On Thursday, May 19, the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region honored community heroes who have demonstrated extraordinary acts of courage and humanitarian service at its 17th Annual Hometown Heroes Ceremony. These 12 individuals jumped into action in a moment’s notice without hesitation – they are true Heroes.

For 16 years, the Red Cross has celebrated extraordinary acts by ordinary people who have saved lives; made significant positive differences in their community in the areas of emergency response, disaster preparedness, and prevention; or exemplified the Red Cross mission in some other way.

“We are living through a time when the average person is being called upon to carry out acts of great heroism,” said Amy Papageorges, Executive Director for the American Red Cross Greater Long Beach and South Bay Chapter. “We are one community together – living and protecting one another. We are excited to honor some of these individuals today.”

The awards luncheon is made possible by the generosity of sponsors.

Jose Barron and Anthony Diaz

The two employees of the Santa Monica Community Recreation Division witnessed an off-duty city police officer suffer a cardiac arrest at the Memorial Park gym. They dialed 9-1-1 and, relying on instructions from dispatcher Joanna Worgen, initiated CPR and used the defibrillator. The victim was unconscious when paramedics arrived but was breathing and displaying a pulse. He was transported to a hospital and released a week later.  For their efforts, the pair received a Santa Monica Fire Department’s Citizens Award.

Other awardees included:

Nathanial Burch who used CPR to saved his father’s life during a heart attack. Andres Alonso as the Red Cross’ Veteran Hero for his service and bravery as a Marine during the Vietnam War. Monique Champagne, Shayla Jackson and Hunter Collins who used CPR and a defibrillator to save a man during an incident at the Long Beach Airport. Bali Fedalizo who saved his 10-year-old cousin after the child was yanked underwater by an undercurrent. Pasadena fire captain William Basulto who encountered a residential fire while off-duty and marshaled neighbors to fight the fire while he saved the elderly resident.  Long Beach Police Department officer Jorge Grajeda who also encountered a residential fire while off-duty and worked to get the resident out. Richard Montejano who worked with other witnesses to overcome a fire to save a woman after she crashed her car into a propane tank at a gas station.