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KNX Heroes – 2008

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knx heroes graf2 KNX Heroes   2008Nancy May / Santa Ana

Dec. 11, 2008

One minute, you’re surfing…the next minute, you’re saving a life. That’s what happened to Nancy May back in September at a beach known as “dogpatch” in San Onofre. Nancy is a physician assistant at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana…so she snapped into action. While Nancy performed CPR, others arrived to help including the lifeguards who had a portable defibrillator. Despite numerous shocks and continued CPR, Nancy did not have a good feeling as the man was taken away in an ambulance. A week later, Nancy came back to the beach in San Onofre and saw some of the same surfers. Nancy says it was an incredible moment when she finally got to meet Ron Darland, the surfer with the blue lips.

Dean Sexton, Robert Calderon & Ivan Johnson / Oakwood School, North Hollywood

Dec. 4, 2008

What started out as a typical high school field trip to Sonoma County turned into something much more dramatic for Oakwood School teachers Dean Sexton, Robert Calderon and Ivan Johnson. Dean tells me the 3 teachers had split from the group to see about renting some vans after the school bus was slightly damaged in an accident outside of Fresno. While trying to get the dazed driver out of his smashed Lincoln, that’s when the 3 teachers noticed the smoke! Dean, Robert and Ivan pulled the man out of the car as it burst into flames…and waited around until paramedics took him to the hospital.

Jeff Reeves / Yorba Linda

Nov. 20, 2008

It started out as a normal Saturday for Jeff Reeves…he was at a neighborhood soccer game when he spotted the black smoke from the hills surrounding his Yorba Linda home. Jeff is a grading contractor with his own water truck…the perfect thing to beat back the flames threatening homes on Blueridge Drive. With fire department resources stretched thin by other brush fires, Jeff and his friend Sam Easterday took the water truck up and down the street…blasting homes with water. They saved 14 houses! Unfortunately, while Sam was helping Jeff water down homes in Yorba Linda, Sam’s own house in Hidden Hills went up in flames. After Sam left to be with his family, Jeff kept at it…watering down houses.

Jeffrey David Brown / Los Angeles

Nov. 13, 2008

Jeffrey David Brown teaches 9th grade Life Skills and Health Sciences at Robert Fulton College Prep in Van Nuys…but his real love is not in the classroom…it’s outside on a half-acre of land dubbed “the farm”. Brown started tending to the farm 7 years ago when it was just a barren, neglected piece of school property…littered with trash. Now it’s thriving vegetable garden helping students earn “service credits” for graduation and helping to feed hungry families in these hard financial times. Right now, the garden is filled with squash, beets, cabbage, onions and strawberries. Jeff tells me they’re hoping to harvest 75-hundreds pounds of fresh veggies this season.


Billy Sheaffer / Long Beach

Oct. 30, 2008

Billie Shaeffer is the bird lady of Long Beach….the retired school teacher and nurse has been tending to sick and injured birds for 4 decades. Billie tells me sparrows are special to her heart…all because of that very first one she rescued so many years ago. It’s been trial-by-fire for Billie…she didn’t have a clue as to how to take care of that baby bird that fell from its nest. Her friends describe Billie as a “saint” and an “angel”…. rehabilitating countless numbers of winged creatures…including birds of prey…and releasing them back into the wild.

Mike Dwyer & Jason Sandoval / Malibu

Oct. 23, 2008

Just like the action heroes their employer is famous for creating, Mike Dwyer and Jason Sandoval of Jakks Pacific came to the rescue of 2 people when a small plane crashed into the ocean off Malibu 2 weeks ago. Mike actually saw the plane nose dive into the water…Jason heard it, but both of them felt compelled to do something…anything. Mike and Jason hit the water at the same time, but Jason had the surfboard so he got to the plane first…and then both of them helped the two injured men get on board the rescue boat. Funny thing is….Mike is scared of the water.


Troy Zada / Valencia

Oct. 16, 2008

Troy Zada is lucky to be alive. He had only a 10 percent chance of making it after he fractured his skull when he hit his head on the sidewalk in a skateboarding accident at college. The thing is…Troy knew better than to skateboard without head protection. Troy tells me he wants to prevent other kids from winding up in the I-C-U, so when he’s not going to classes at UC-Santa Barbara, he’s making the rounds at elementary schools.  Troy is quite the 19-year old…as a summer lifeguard, he saved a child from drowning…and he’s been known to stop and help traffic accident victims.

Victor McClinton / Pasadena

Oct. 9, 2008

For Victor McClinton, it’s all about building self-esteem…and having fun at the same time.  Victor has been involved with youth sports for 27 years…ever since high school when he volunteered to work with kids at a rec center in Huntington Park. Victor tells me he grew up without a father, so he bonded with his high school coaches…and says he’s just following in their footsteps.  At 16, Victor started at the bottom learning how to mark a field…then he moved to coaching basketball, track, soccer and flag football. Now he runs the Brotherhood Crusade Youth Sports League with his wife and two teen-age sons.


Frank and Pat Geraty / Chatsworth

Sept. 18, 2008

Panic, chaos and gruesome injuries…that’s what frantic passengers described for 9-1-1 operators as they called for help after a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train crashed head-on in Chatsworth. Patty Garrity and her husband Frank were among the dozens of Chatsworth residents who came to the rescue of commuters injured and in shock immediately after the crash.  The Garrity’s property is near the train tracks…and Patty and Frank joined with other neighbors who opened up their hearts and their backyards to provide comfort and care for the injured.  So many people, so many heroes from the neighborhood rushed to help the train passengers.

Carole Pearson / Inglewood

Sept. 11, 2008

An Inglewood woman comes to the rescue of a pit bull that got caught in the crossfire of a deadly police shooting.   That’s how many people feel when they find out a dog was shot five times by Inglewood police in that Labor Day weekend shooting incident involving a homeless man carrying a toy gun. Eddie Franco died in that confrontation….Topaz the pit bull ended up at the Carson animal shelter where she stayed for 3 days without treatment. Carole Pearson… with a rescue group called Pawd Squad…spent days tracking down Topaz. Topaz belongs to another homeless man named Michael who was arrested by Inglewood police the day of the shooting…his possessions confiscated.  Topaz is getting free vet care at Airport Cities Animal Hospital…and Carole and other volunteers have bought clothing and necessities for Michael. They want to make sure both man and dog are well cared for.

Dr. Jay Grossman / Brentwood

Sept. 5, 2008

A Brentwood man uses his skills as a dentist to dramatically change the lives of L-A’s homeless population. The sound of a drill makes most people squirm…but it’s music to the ears of thousands of homeless people who’ve been helped by Dr. Jay Grossman. Dr. Grossman came up with an idea 15 years ago when he realized giving a dollar to a homeless vet on the street corner wasn’t going to make a difference. He called his idea “Homeless-not-Toothless”…and it’s grown into a huge program that helps homeless people regain their self-respect by *not* having agonizing tooth pain and…more importantly…having a full and bright smile.Dr. Grossman tells me it’s his way of giving back to the community.

Nadine LeBlanc / Los Angeles

Aug. 28, 2008

Nadine LeBlanc suffered unimaginable heartache 7 years ago when her 19-year old grandson, Christopher, was shot to death in a car while waiting to turn at Pico and Curson. He was visiting his grandmother for the summer before starting college. The murder is still unsolved…and police think it was a random act of violence. Nadine decided the best way to honor the memory of her grandson was to speak out against gun violence. Nadine joined Women Against Gun Violence and now spends her time telling her story to students, community groups, parents and kids-at-risk.


Debbie Herot / Granada Hills

Aug. 21, 2008

It all started with a very sick dog and a heartbreaking letter. Debbie Herot tells me the dog and the letter greeted her one Monday morning last month at the ChatOak Pet Medical Clinic in Granada Hills.  Debbie read the letter…which had a black string wrapped around it and a cross attached. Etched on the cross were the words “Papa loves Kaiser”.  It took about a week, but Debbie says they got Kaiser up on his feet…and then started looking for his owner. Clinic workers put up hundreds of posters and clients searched homeless parks clues. Bob Mikolasko finally showed up at the pet clinic when he read about his dog in the newspaper.


Officer R.J. Garwood & Officer Rick Naughton

Huntington Beach Police Department

August 7, 2008

Officers R-J Garwood and Rick McNaughton aren’t really super heroes, but they can fly! The two police helicopter crew members heard a mother’s desperate 9-1-1 call for help for her choking baby over the scanner…so they landed their chopper in the street. The baby was choking on a piece of chicken pot pie and turning blue…and they knew a helicopter landing was the only way to save the child. Officer Garwood says he made a quick run to the house once the chopper landed in the street. The two Huntington Beach police officers say they were just doing their job…and are glad everything turned out okay.


Brian Henley / Rancho Santo Margarita

July 31, 2008

Brian O’Henley may be a tough guy on the outside, but he’s soft and squishy on the inside. And that’s why he stopped his Harley on busy Batavia Street near Katella in Orange a few months back to help an injured raccoon lying in the middle of the road. Brian tells me when he first rode past the raccoon, he thought it was dead…but the animal raised its head and looked him straight in the eyes. Does he consider himself to be a hero?? Not really, but Brian says he’d stop and help any living creature in need. He’s just glad animal rescue was able to fix up the raccoon’s injured leg and release it back into the wild.


Keith Cox / Beverly Hills

July 24, 2008

A Beverly Hills realtor makes it “real” for teen-agers by building schools in the heart of Africa. Keith Cox is talking about his recent trip to Africa and the Malawi School project. The Beverly Hills realtor is also Reverend Cox…chairperson of the Religious Science International Youth Seminar… Keith tells me they’ve built 5 schools already…and they’ve raised the money to build 5 more. When the 10 schools are finished, Keith says the project will have touched the lives of more than 10-thousand children and 3-thousand adults in a deep and meaningful way.


Bob Harraka / Brea

July 10, 2008

Bob Harraka is the owner of Professional Tutors of America….and he’s been helping kids across the country for 25 years. These days, the Brea resident is focusing on his “Fallen Soldiers” program….which provides free tutoring for any child who’s lost a parent to the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. The former high school math teacher and Vietnam vet tells me the free tutoring program is the least he can do for families who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Since he’s dealing with a government bureaucracy, it’s tough for Bob to get the names of kids who need help. 1-800-TEACHUS will put needy students in touch with Bob.


Chief John Welter, Officer Brett Heitmann, Officer Michael Riddell, Officer Tom Poer

Anaheim

July 3, 2008

Did you see the video?? It’s pretty dramatic….3 window washers dangling from a 10-story building on Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim. Good thing Police Chief John Welter was in his office early that morning getting ready to go on patrol with one of his officers. So, Chief Welter runs across the street, takes the elevator, sprints up a flight of stairs to the roof where the 3 window washers are hanging on for dear life. It’s fortunate the accident took place during a shift change because Chief Welter says there were lots of extra hands around.


Elizabeth Neat / San Pedro

June 26, 2008

Elizabeth Neat tells me she had an epiphany 21 years ago. A speaker at an education conference challenged the attendees to become mentors and Elizabeth took it to heart. From that point on, Elizabeth brought Craig into her family….taking him on hikes, camp outs and to the theme parks with her 2 sons. She also got involved in his education…meeting with his teachers and tutoring him all the way through high school. Is she proud of him? That’s an understatement. Craig is now a corrections officer with L-A County…all thanks to the help he received from a caring adult.


Steve Sanchez / Santa Ana

Brandon Joseph / Anaheim

June 19, 2008

Steve Sanchez and Brandon Joseph work for the El Toro Water District. Last November, they were waiting at the light at Molton and Via Iglesia in Laguna Hills when they noticed something odd…..a car rolling through the red. Sanchez and Joseph didn’t think twice…they stopped their truck and ran to help the man and his panicked kids! The two men called 9-1-1 and also flagged down a passing ambulance…and Sanchez was able to calm the man down by speaking to him in Spanish. Joseph tells me it was all instinct.


Steve Freed / Beverly Hills

June 12, 2008

Steve Freed tells me he’s an executive by profession…but a cowboy by hobby and philosophy. And he’s putting that hobby to good use by raising 50-thousand dollars to fund a cancer research project at Childrens’ Hospital Los Angeles. He’s roping cows on the professional rodeo circuit.  So far this year, Steve’s won 65-hundred dollars and he’s already qualified for the World Series of Team Roping in Las Vegas in December. In the meantime, he’s launched a website…Beverly Hills Cowboy dot com…where the public can donate to the cause. Steve even turned his birthday into a fund raising effort. Steve is “this close” to his fund raising goal for cancer research. Last count, the tally was up to 40-thousand dollars.


Brendan Simmons / Hermosa Beach

June 5, 2008

They’ve been friends and surfing buddies since junior high, and that friendship was put the test back in March when Brendan Simmons pulled Nathan Go-kee out of the ocean after a serious wipe-out. It was early in the morning when Brendan and Nathan headed out to catch some waves in Hermosa… When Nathan didn’t resurface, Brendan realized something horrible had happened to his friend…and he paddled about a quarter mile out to get him. Turns out, Nathan broke his neck…and now he’s learning to live in a wheelchair.  Brendan continues to help his friend. He’s raising money to convert Nathan’s home to handicapped access with a website…support nathan go-kee dot com. Brendan says it could have happened to any surfer…


Chuck Wackerman / Seal Beach

May 29, 2008

When most 76-year-olds are taking it easy, Chuck Wackerman is hard at work doing what he loves best…teaching music and directing the elite jazz ensemble at McAuliffe Middle School in Los Alamitos. Chuck has been a band director for 52 years! Yes, I said 52 years!  Chuck is in the classroom at 6:30 every weekday morning…rehearsing with the kids for 2 hours. On Fridays, he conducts another 2-hour rehearsal.  During jazz festival season in the spring, Chuck is the first one at the school loading equipment on the bus. The McAuliffe jazz ensemble competes at festivals all over Southern California and consistently wins first place. So, why does Chuck work himself and the kids so hard??  Former student Nick Jocks says Chuck has inspired many young people to follow in his footsteps as a music director.


Tom Scafidi / Newbury Park

May 15, 2008

Tom is a service porter and shuttle driver at Ladin Lincoln-Mercury Hyundai. Two weeks ago, he dropped off an 81-year old customer at her home, but he was worried because she seemed a little shaky on her feet. Turns out, Tom had reason to worry. When the service advisor at the dealership told Tom he couldn’t reach the elderly customer on the phone, Tom decided to drive over to the house and check on her. It’s a good thing, too…she’d been laying on her back in the front hallway for 24 hours.



Kenneth Leo Wyatt / Compton

May 5, 2008

Kenneth Leo Wyatt and his wife were watching a movie at home 3 weeks ago when they heard a tremendous crashing sound… It was a Cessna 3-10 that lost power while approaching the Compton/Woodley airport and crashed into 3 houses on Cypress Street. Wyatt didn’t think twice…he ran into the rubble of his neighbor’s house…searching for survivors… So guess what? Wyatt ran back in to rescue the pilot’s passenger and he also pulled out his neighbor’s boyfriend. He tried to go back into the rubble for his neighbor, but by that time, the fire department had showed up and successfully rescued her. Wyatt doesn’t consider himself to be a hero…he’s just grateful he was there to help.



Josh Pasewaldt / Thousand Oaks

Apr. 24, 2008

Josh Pasewaldt describes himself as a “taxi driver for dogs.”

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