2009 Hero Award Winners!

I am so excited to announce our 2009 Hero Award Winners!  We can’t fit the whole story on our blog – so if you’d like to join us at or 2009 Heroes Breakfast – give us a call! 462-2881


Animal Rescue Heroes

Krista Locatelli, Mary Sullivan-White, Lyn Hood and Todd Stosuy

Together, these heroes saved over 900 animals during the Summit, Martin and Trabing Fires of 2008


Youth Hero:

Jeff Kyrnitszke

Jeff saved the life of a classmate who was choking by performing the Heimlich maneuver.


Workplace Hero:

Enrique Rosas

Enrique saved the life of a coworker who had an epileptic seizure in the fields.


Law Enforcement Heroes

Officer Christian Thompson, Officer Guillermo Vazquez and CSO Jesus Tony Mendoza

The three officers helped save the life of a young woman who overdosed on prescription medication.


Rescue Professional Hero

Michael G. Kretsch

Firefighter and Paramedic Michael G. Kretsch responded to several life threatening emergencies in his career. In January of 2008, he saved the life of an 86 year old woman who was caught in a home fire.


Good Samaritan Hero

Wilma Field

Wilma helped save the life of a young boy who had fallen into the San Lorenzo River.


Medical Professional Hero

Dr. Diane Bridgeman

Diane established and maintains the Mental Health Disaster Response Team at the Santa Cruz County Red Cross.


Education Hero

Carmelita Austin-Scherer

After surviving cancer, Carmelita founded the African American Community Health Group of the Central Coast – an organization that provides health information to the often undeserved African American population of the Central Coast.


Military Hero

Maurice “Rick” Ricketts

Maurice is an 86 year old Navy veteran of WWII. He’s been an active member of the VFW since 1979 and has kept the HAM radio station alive since then.


Lifetime Achievement

Terry Medina

Terry Medina has been in the Santa Cruz Law Enforcement community since 1966. During his tenure, Terry has worked to develop outreach programs to improve the quality of public safety. Terry has been a leader in developing proactive programs that help prevent and deter potential offenders and prevent criminal acts before they occur. Terry will be retiring December 2009.


Eleanor Wasson Award for Excellence in Public Service

Wayne Shaffer

Wayne Shaffer is the founder and Board President of Siena House Maternity Home, a safe place for women with crisis pregnancy to stay and learn the skills they need to be successful.

Your pet would give YOU CPR…


When we say “Pet CPR,” we’re not suggesting you let your dog nosh on your face.  Dogs probably couldn’t perform effective CPR on a human anyway… but I bet your dog or cat loves you so much they’d try!

People often laugh the first time they hear about Pet First Aid – but it’s awesome!  Just think – if your cat or dog gets injured, stops breathing, or gets hit by a car, you could have the skills to get them to the vet safely, more comfortably, and possibly in better shape.  The class includes pet CPR, which can help your fuzzy family members should they have a cardiac arrest or stop breathing.

Mr. Whiskers has to stay at home for the class- but you can share the book and DVD with your pet when you get home.

For more information, or to sign up, visit www.sccredcross.org.

Gosh, we’re clever.

There’s a good chance that if you don’t know CPR, you’ll be eaten by a bear.

…ok, ok, I don’t want any phone calls from the big guys.  But, lets say you were being chased by a bear… wouldn’t it be comforting to know CPR and First Aid?  We think so.  That’s why we’re telling the world with our brand new PSA!  Look for it soon on the CW and KION.

“LOST” in Translation

What are your irrational fears?

"He must have let his CPR certification expire... look at that dreadful hand position!"

"He must have let his CPR certification expire... look at that dreadful hand position!"

Mine include spiders laying eggs anywhere on my body and/or falling into space while on an airplane (falling into space… or getting sucked into space?).

I’ve had more than a few people tell me that their irrational fear is being stuck on a deserted island.  I can’t say I blame them… there would probably be several new kinds of spiders with new and terrifying egg-laying abilities on a deserted island.

Speaking of which… has anyone seen “LOST”?  Woah… calm down… yes I know Sayid is “dreamy”… And no, I did not catch that spectacular new plot twist last week.  I’m still on the 2nd season!  Give a girl a chance to catch up.

Despite my growing admiration for the show, as a proud Red Cross Employee and self-certified Preparedness Geek, I feel that I must bring to light some misconceptions about CPR and First Aid that LOST has been perpetuating.   OK, apparently there’s some “mystical force” on the island that keeps saving everyone… but in the absence of a mystical force (or lucky appearance of a doctor) in your emergency situation, here are some mystical misconceptions clarified:

1.  If one has an object embedded in their body, DO NOT REMOVE the object.  Bandage bulky dressings around the object to keep it from moving.  This will minimize bleeding and minimize shock.  I have to say that it is kind of amazing how many times someone has had an object embedded in their body so far in LOST.  I’m sure it is some kind of TV record.

2. CPR is a valuable tool for anyone who would like to help save a life… however, CPR alone is not enough for a victim to  survive cardiac arrest.  The greatest chance of survival from cardiac arrest occurs when the following sequence of events happens as quickly as possible:

Cardiac Chain of Survival

1. Early recognition and early access.  The sooner 911 is called, the better.

2. Early CPR.  Early CPR helps circulate blood that contains oxygen to the vital organs until and AED is ready to use or advanced medical personnel arrive.

3. Early Defibrillation.  Most persons with sudden cardiac arrest need and electric shock called “defibrillation.”  Each minute that defibrillation is delayed reduces the chance of survival by about 10% (for more on defibrillation, keep watching the blog – or take a CPR class!).

4. Early advanced medical care.  This is given by trained medical personnel who give further care and transport to hospital facilities, where hopefully the machines are not finely crafted from bamboo and coconuts.

Instances of CPR in LOST are not realistic, and they are also numerous.  Plus, if our CPR instructors saw the CPR that was being dolled out on the island, they’d probably be so shocked by the bad form that they’d have their own cardiac arrest.

3. Ok, if someone has a pulse, then it is possible for Rescue Breathing alone to save their life.  However, if someone has stopped breathing for a certain amount of time, that will inevitably cause a cardiac arrest.  If a person has no pulse, their heart has either stopped or is in a state of “fibrillation” (meaning that the heart is beating erratically, and needs to be corrected by defibrillation.  If the heart is in fibrillation, you will not feel a pulse), then they are in cardiac arrest. If this is the case, CPR alone will likely not be enough to save them.

… are you getting way more than you bargained for, yet?  Don’t worry… This blog is in no way intended to be a replacement for a real CPR class.  Take a real class with one of our awesome instructors to have your questions answered.  I can’t guarantee that the instructor will be as obsessed with LOST as you or I… but I can guarantee that you’ll leave the class confident that you have the skills to help save a life – even on a deserted island.

Heroes: You have them, We want them.

Please help us honor our local heroes!  Each year the Santa Cruz County Chapter calls for the community to nominate their heroes for our Annual Heroes Breakfast Awards.  We are currently accepting nominations (ONLINE! :D) and the deadline for nominations is April 10.  Please share your hero’s story with us (capes and masks are, as always, optional)!

Categories Include:
  • Animal Rescue
  • Education
  • Good Samaritan
  • Law Enforcement
  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Medical Professional
  • Military
  • Rescue Professional
  • Workplace
  • Youth (under 21)
    Criteria for Nominations:
  • Nominees must live or work in Santa Cruz County
  • The heroic act does not need to have occurred in Santa Cruz County
  • The heroic act must have occurred after January 1, 2007
  • If you have submitted a nomination form within the last two years and your hero has not been ed to receive an award, he or she is still eligible. Please re-submit your nomination for consideration.

To get you in the mood to nominate a hero, I have totally and without remorse stolen the following ad from the Greater Chicago Chapter.  Oh, how I love their sense of humor.  Also, before I came to Santa Cruz I worked at the RC Chapter directly to their north… so i feel as if they should let me use this ad (Remember, visit www.sccredcross.org to nominate your hero).

CPR in The Office…

Many of you know that the American Red Cross offers CPR classes to the public.  But, did you know that we will also do private classes for your business, school, church or other group?  It’s true.  For the same amount per person as a class here at the chapter, we will provide CPR for groups up to 12 (per class) at your location (or, if you don’t have the space, you can use ours!).

Which brings me to my point:  Did anyone see The Office on Sunday?  I unfortunately missed it because I had fallen into what I could only assume was a Nacho Cheese Coma (I’m out of football watching shape…).  It was only a few days ago that I learned of the Red Cross mention – and the CPR class of doom…

As a CPR instructor myself, I feel for poor Rose…  This was pretty much the worst CPR class ever… and I’m not just talking about Micheal’s laughably bad hand position.  Should you be interested in a CPR class at YOUR office from OUR chapter, you’ll get an instructor who can handle a room full of people – plus videos and at least one CPR dummy for every 2 students.

BTW… no,  you can’t get the Dummies without a Certified Red Cross Instructor.

Iz u praktisin yer CPR?

I’ll be the first to admit it… I have a weakness for funny pictures of cats.  Luckily, this funny picture of cats is relevant to what’s happening here at the chapter, so I had an excellent excuse to share it with you all.

Our Health and Safety department is really starting to ramp up the number of classes that they are offering.  We have more than tripled the number of Babysitters Training classes in our schedule.  In addition, we are currently seeking instructors to teach Wilderness First Aid (also known as Mountaineering First Aid) as well as Pet First Aid.

“Pet First Aid?” you ask.  “What is that… like… with bandages and stuff?”

Well, there’s that.  Did you know that there is also a correct way to perform CPR on your cat or dog?  There is!  There are even cat and dog CPR manikins.

You don’t need to be a medical professional to be an American Red Cross Health and Safety Instructor.  Give us a call here at the chapter, and we’ll clue you in on the process:  831-462-2881.

College Students: Did I mention that teaching CPR and First Aid classes looks amazing on a resume?

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