Humboldt County good deed doers honored

More than 200 people gathered to honor the good deeds of Humboldt County community members at the 12th Annual Humboldt Heroes luncheon, held last week at the River Lodge in Fortuna.

"We honor dedicated people who care deeply about our community," said Barbara Caldwell, Executive Director of Humboldt-Del Norte Chapter of the American Red Cross, which sponsors the recognition luncheon every year. "These Humboldt Heroes share values like compassion, bravery, and a love of humanity with all of us," Caldwell added.

Each of the Humboldt Heroes was not nominated by the Red Cross, but by members of the community. "Friends, family, and colleagues come forward and tell us about everyday heroes living in our midst," Caldwell said. A team of community leaders makes the selection for who will receive awards.

Four recipients received Saved a Human Life Awards:

-Amber Bowlds, an EMT with Southern Trinity Emergency Services, who's quick thinking and tenacity saved the life of a man who had been stabbed in the throat while at an event in Fortuna in July of 2013.

-Sean Ledwin pulled the lone survivor from the water and helped keep her from going back in, in an event that took the lives of three people from one family at Big Lagoon in November 2012.

-Wonder Gustafson saved the life of a woman who had a seizure and then stopped breathing in Eureka in September 2013.

-Brock Bluntzer saved the life of a fellow surfer who had been attacked by a great white shark off the Samoa Beach in October 2013.

Three people received Good Samaritan Awards:

-California Conservation Corps members Cedar Long and Nathan Stalioraitis prevented serious injury to two young children who might have been hurt by oncoming traffic in the Hoopa area in April 2013.

-Matt Busher, who works for Arcata Ambulance and is a volunteer for the Arcata Fire Department, stopped at the scene of a serious vehicle accident on Highway 299, and performed CPR on a child who had been seriously hurt in May 2013.

The Business Good Samaritan Award was presented to Bob Frawley and his Reaching for Independence organization, which serves 45 persons with developmental disabilities.

Two U.S. Coast Guard Crews and a Captain with the Humboldt Bay Fire Department are recipients of Saved a Human Life in the Line of Duty Awards:

-Helicopter crew Lt. George Suhanek, Lt. Josh Smith, AMT1 Justin Perez, and AST3 Travis Peck rescued two hikers, one critically injured, near Enderts Beach in Del Norte County in May 2013.

-U.S Coast Guard team BMZ Victoria Taylor, MKZ Louis Ciccoli, SN Jason Roberds, and SN Noah Perry rescued two people after their boat had capsized near the South Jetty in May 2013.

-Captain Dan Salinger was on-call, spending the afternoon with family at Freshwater Park in September 2013, when he performed a water rescue from Freshwater Creek that saved a man's life.

And last, but certainly not least, the Spirit of the Red Cross Award was presented to Kathy Moley-Viand, a geologist with Pacific Watershed Associates, who is dedicated to making sure that the county is prepared for a disaster by sharing her time, expertise, and passion with communities, organizations, and individuals throughout the North Coast.

Gold level sponsors of the 12th annual Humboldt Heroes Recognition Luncheon were Pacific Gas & Electric, St. Joseph Health Systems, AgCredit, and Coast Central Credit Union. Silver sponsors were Renner Petroleum, California Conservation Corps, Redwood Capital Bank, and Wildberries Marketplace. The luncheon event is also the main fundraiser for the Humboldt-Del Norte Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Humboldt Heroes award recipients were honored and gathered for a photograph at the 12th annual recognition luncheon on Feb. 21 in Fortuna.