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Agency to honor heroes

The Merced/Mariposa counties chapter of the American Red Cross will honor 12 people Wednesday morning at its second annual Everyday Heroes Breakfast in Merced.

More than 200 people are expected to attend the event from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Merced Senior Community Center at West 15th and N streets.

The signature fundraising event is a way for the Red Cross to honor individuals who personify the organization's mission of responding to emergencies, Larry Reed, executive director, said.

"Everyday heroes are all around us," Reed said. "People who one day find themselves living through extraordinary circumstances, reaching out to someone in need and doing remarkable things."

Honorees include Sharon Lohman, Jarvis Hall, Nathan Hoekstra, Jason Hart, Jeremy Salyers, Dan Dabney, Brian Bowen, Renaldo Alvarez, Seth Powell, Tom and Pat Larkin and Javier Garcia.

The Everyday Heroes Celebration will help the local Red Cross chapter raise funds for local use in disaster and emergency assistance, health and safety training-education and armed forces emergency services.

Lohman was instrumental in creating the nonprofit Trails of Happy Tails organization, which has rescued countless animals. Emergency room technician Seth Powell has donated more than five gallons of blood in four years. The Larkins have been disaster service volunteers for three years.

Hall rescued a neighbor from her burning home; police officers Hart, Salyers and Dabney rescued several elderly residents from their burning apartments on West 18th Street and officers Brian Bowen and Renaldo Alvarez rescued residents from an apartment fire on Park Avenue.

Hoekstra, 9, summoned help for his father and brother when their sport-utility vehicle crashed on a remote rural road during a driving rain. Garcia rescued a farm worker who had been stung by bees in an almond orchard.

"Red Cross heroes have one thing in common: They have all exhibited exceptional acts of heroism through selfless bravery, dedication to humanitarian principles or extraordinary public service. Red Cross heroes think not of themselves but of others, and they act voluntarily and impartially, often at their own risk," Reed said.

Reed said the heroes event will renew faith in the goodness of community citizens, help support one of the most recognizable and trusted charitable organizations in the world and raise funds for important local programs and services.

There is no charge for the breakfast but those attending must make advance reservations by calling the Red Cross office at (209) 383-2150 during business hours, Reed said.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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