Safety Heroes

Honorees gather for a ceremony honoring 31 "Safety Heroes" in San Bernardino County.  (Contributed photo by San Bernardino County)

Fontana residents were among 31 "Safety Heroes" honored by San Bernardino County during a special presentation on Aug. 14.

The event was coordinated by the Board of Supervisors, the District Attorney's Office, the Sheriff’s Department and County Fire Department.

“Safety Heroes are people who come along side law enforcement and emergency services to serve members of our community and help us keep our county safe,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “These selfless and courageous individuals volunteer to serve others on their own time. In doing this, they keep our county strong and ready to face whatever emergency may come our way. It is an honor to recognize them for their efforts.”

Vision4Safety is a campaign of the Countywide Vision to bring people together to create safer neighborhoods, schools and workplaces in San Bernardino County. Last year, the Vision4Safety campaign asked the public to nominate Safety Heroes throughout the county who have made their communities safer by volunteering in emergency preparedness programs, leading neighborhood watch groups or stepping in to save a person’s life.

The Fontana honorees included Navaeh Telles, a 9-year-old girl who was alone with her mother, Jennifer, when her mom suffered a medical emergency and fell to the ground unconscious and not breathing. Naveah called 911 and provided a dispatcher with her address and information about her mother’s condition. Paramedics arrived and helped her mother, who made a full recovery.

Other Fontana persons honored were:

• Ray Cancel is a City of Fontana Community Emergency Response Team instructor who has trained and mentored more than 280 CERT students and participants and has been on several city call outs. In addition, he volunteers for the Police Department's Explorer Program, and is a part of the Emergency Communication Services team for the P.D.

• Irma Herrera is a volunteer with the San Bernardino County Area Office of Emergency Services as well as the city of Fontana’s CERT Team. She oversees the Listos program, a public education program on preparedness designed to reach the Spanish-speaking community.

• Oscar Limon has been one of the primary instructors for the Fontana CERT Program since 2013.  He has been instrumental in certifying more than 200 participants into the organization.

----- OTHER HONOREES from San Bernardino County at the event:

• Frank Becerra volunteers in his community through his neighborhood watch and as a volunteer in search and rescue.

• Emma Bonin has spent 19 years volunteering her time at the Hesperia Police Station as a member of the Equestrians on Patrol program. She teaches children how to recognize dangerous situations and helps them raise their awareness about strangers.

• Yomar Cleary has been the secretary of the Mountain Mutual Aid group in Big Bear Lake for nearly 20 years.

• Jeff Carter is the lead for the Muscupiabe Neighborhood Association Disaster Preparedness Team and coordinates a local emergency response with other CERT trained neighbors.

• Gil Diaz initially received CERT training back in 2013 and took a leadership role in 2014. He has completed the FEMA CERT Train-the-Trainer and program Manager Courses, Listos Train-the-Trainer and multiple Emergency Management Courses.

• Darren Espiritu founded a community group called Above the 210 to provide a one-stop informational resource for North San Bernardino residents.

• Alyssa Farrell, a member of Girl Scout Troop 10154 of Chino, saved the life of her friend by performing the Heimlich maneuver at a church retreat in October of 2018.

• Ruben Favela helped save the life of Deputy Rachel Varela when a suspect pulled a gun on her at a gas station. He physically fought the suspect with Varela until the suspect could be apprehended.

• Harry Hatch is a retired sheriffs’ detective who stays busy as an active member of the North End Neighborhood Association (NENA) in San Bernardino and has prepared fireworks presentations about the dangers of fireworks to several organizations.

• David Hobbs has been dedicated to serving the communities of Green Valley Lake, Running Springs, Crest Line and his home town of Lake Arrowhead as the coordinator and director of what is now known as Mountain Cert.

• Brayden Juarez cleans up the streets of Yucaipa by picking up trash, teaching others how to cross crosswalks, and several other good deeds.

• Sergeant Maxim Krymov, Sergeant Kenneth Mullins, Lance Corporal Joseph Rasdal and Corporal Manuel Ruiz instruct at-risk teenagers in physical training, military formation and marching in the SHOCK program in Apple Valley.

• Colleen Kuhn has devoted her life to public safety in the High Desert.

• Colton Nordella, a 10-year-old boy, was surfing when he helped a man in his 50s who was having trouble staying above water. Colton told the man to calm down, and with the leash of his surfboard still attached to his ankle, he helped get the man onto his surfboard. Colton continued talking to the man and they began swimming to shore, where a lifeguard stepped in and told Colton he had done a good save.

• Kelly Palmer is a county employee in the Fuels and Security Department, a black belt In Tang Soo Do, and former USAF airplane mechanic.

• Thomas Pambianco volunteers as the training coordinator of the Sun City Apple Valley Emergency Planning Council.

• Thom Reeder volunteers with the CERT team and helps with training classes.

• Jassmyn Sanchez developed the Lady Be Aware Safety Course designed for women who want to develop the necessary attitude, skills, and knowledge to help prevent them from becoming a victim.

• Jenny Smith is in charge of Yucaipa police social media.

• The Way World Outreach Church and staff strive to help those in need through various programs and outreach.

• Michael Thielen is the administrator of the Facebook page Pain In the Pass.

• Lynne Wear is president of the Muscupiabe Homeowners Association.

• Douglas Williams started an online watch group called Wildwood Watchers and keeps all the neighbors up-to-date on suspicious activities.

• Breanna York, principal of Davidson Elementary School in San Bernardino, is part of a collaborative group of concerned community members who nave recently launched a grassroots neighborhood initiative to assess pedestrian safety, Safe Routes to School, overall neighborhood traffic safety, and improved walkability.

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