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San Benito
July 13, 2024

Red Cross honors local residents for volunteer work

Courtesy of the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross of the Central Coast honored 18 local residents and an area fire department at a recent recognition event for chapter volunteers from Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties. The annual event, originally planned as an in-person event this past spring, was delayed and then held virtually on December 8 because of COVID-19 precautions.

At the event, Tiki Dellamoraof Santa Cruz received the American Red Cross’s top honor, the Clara Barton Award. Named after the founder of the American Red Cross, the award recognizes a volunteer for service in a series of leadership positions held over a number of years.
A volunteer in Santa Cruz County since 1984, Dellamora has been a staple of the local chapter’s Disaster Cycle Services team. A veteran of more than 30 disaster-relief operations, she has proven herself time and again to be a dedicated steward of the Red Cross mission.

“Not only has Tiki been a tireless volunteer, she is also a joy to work with and just a real treasure,” said Michele Averill, CEO of the local chapter. “Tiki embodies the spirit of the Red Cross, and we were thrilled to present her with the Clara Barton Award.”

In addition to the Clara Barton Award, the following awards were also given to local volunteers at the Red Cross recognition event:

  • Biomedical Services Volunteer of the Year Award – John Crepeau (Hollister)
  • Blood Services Donor of the Year – Danny Lucas (Watsonville)
  • Collaboration Award – Megan Erk (Los Gatos) and Michele Averill (Aptos)
  • Disaster Cycle Services Award, Exceptional Response – Beverly Will (Watsonville) and Kelly-May Donnelly (San Juan Bautista)
  • Disaster Cycle Services Award, Extraordinary Commitment and Dedication – Tom Wiley (Royal Oaks) and David Guttirez (Hollister)
  • General Support Services Award – Laurie Wheeler (Monterey)
  • International Services Award – Kim Osborne (Monterey) and Laura Fullem-Chavis (Carmel Valley)
  • New Volunteer Award – Dwayne Taaffe (Salinas)
  • Service to the Armed Forces Award – Tony Virrueta (Soledad)
  • Volunteer Leadership Award – Dane Lobb (Royal Oaks)
  • Youth Services Award – Kira Kaplan (Santa Cruz) and Marielle Mabaet (Seaside)
  • Partnership Award – Chief Brian Dempsey (Seaside) and the Seaside Fire Department

Other volunteers were celebrated for the large number of hours they devoted to Red Cross service during the 2019 calendar year.

“Our dedicated and wonderful volunteers have continued to support the mission of the Red Cross, even during this challenging time of COVID,” Averill said. “And during the devastating wildfires in our area this year, they heroically supported our disaster relief efforts even while, in some cases, they had evacuated because their own homes were threatened.”

This year’s Central Coast Chapter recognition event also included another special element: A short video was shown in honor of the family of longtime Watsonville Fire Department captain Danny Lucas. Three members of the family — Danny Lucas Jr. of Watsonville , Chad Lucas of Watsonville, and Raymond Harris of Aptos received Red Cross awards earlier this month for the “extraordinary action” each took to save Danny Lucas’s life following a hunting accident in Montana.

Become a Red Cross Volunteer: You too can make a difference in Monterey, San Benito, or Santa Cruz County by becoming a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Volunteers constitute about 94 percent of the total Red Cross workforce to carry out our humanitarian work. Red Cross volunteers are trained to meet the needs of those affected by disasters, providing food, shelter, and comfort for families affected by major disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes as well as helping local residents prepare for and recover from emergencies of all kinds.  We’ll find the position that appeals to you and allows you to use your skills and talents. Email [email protected] to get started.

About American Red Cross of the Central Coast: With offices in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties, the American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit our web site at redcross.org/centralcoast or call us at 831-624-6921. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.