Below is the list of our 2013 Courageous Citizens Awards Honorees
LAPD, Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas, Valley Operations
On September 1, 2013, Adam Simpson, a private citizen, displayed heroic actions when he took immediate action and assisted a burn victim when the victim’s vehicle collided with a tree. A security guard for Maxwell Patrol, Mr. Simpson heard a loud collision and saw the driver and his vehicle engulfed in flames. Mr. Simpson assisted in removing the burning man’s clothes and assisted in stabilizing him and preventing him from going into shock. Mr. Simpson dialed 9-1-1 and directed emergency services to the site of the accident. Mr. Simpson displayed great courage and compassion with his actions. Mr. Simpson is commended and thanked by the LAPD and Valley Traffic Division for his bravery and actions.
On December 28, 2011, Mr. Altamarano heard screaming from the apartment of Delmi Mechado where his wife Cynthia and one year old son were visiting. When he entered the apartment, he observed a suspect stabbing Ms. Mechado. Mr. Altamarano grabbed the suspect from behind and the suspect turned and started stabbing Mr. Altamarano in the torso. As the suspect began approaching Mr. Altamarano’s one year old son, Mr. Altamarano, bleeding heavily from wounds, tackled the suspect from behind. Mr. Altamarano’s wife struck the suspect in the head with a speaker and he fled. Mr. Altamarano locked the door and assured Ms. Mechado that the police and fire department would arrive soon. Despite his 11 stab wounds and blood loss, his last thought was to provide words of encouragement and comfort. Mr. Altamarano is saluted by the LAPD for risking his life to save the lives of Ms. Mechado, his wife and child.
Rafer Johnson, Founding Board Member, Special Olympics
Despite his disability, Paul Hoffman is very accomplished! Mr. Hoffman developed spinal meningitis after he was born changing the course of his life. Special Olympics has given him the opportunity to inspire others to do the same.
Hoffman has found varying levels of success as an athlete but there is one area where he constantly succeeds, giving back. Mr. Hoffman has worked with the Fullerton High School District for 35 years and volunteers his time to all of the athletic teams. He also volunteers for the National Junior Basketball Association.
Mr. Hoffman has excelled as a Special Olympics Athlete. He takes pride in his role as being the first athlete from California to be trained as a Special Olympics Global Messenger. Global Messengers are athletes who spread the message and vision of the movement as well as the benefits they have gained by participating in Special Olympics. During his time as an athlete, Paul has had the opportunity to travel the world–competing in three World Games and winning a medal at each event.
The Southern California chapter of Special Olympics honors Mr. Hoffman for his many accomplishments.
Salina Jimenez, Iraq War Widow
Golden State Chapter, President
Gold Star Wives, Inc.,
Debbie Gregory, CEO,
At the age of 26, Ms. Jimenez answered the door to her home and her life changed forever because her life partner, Sgt. David J. Almazan had been killed in combat. Families with a family member in combat dread the knock on the door and the news of a death.
Ms. Jimenez responded to her loss by dedicating herself to helping the families of other troops killed in combat. In 2009 she created a Running Team, Team “Doc” Almazan, that competes nationally and internationally in honor of her husband and Fallen American Heroes. All sponsorships and funds raised are provided to aid resources for Gold Star Families.
Ms. Jimenez became an active member of Gold Star Wives in 2008 and she has dedicated her efforts to assisting the families who have also had the notification of a death in combat. The Gold Star Wives was formed in 1945 to honor the widows of soldiers killed in combat.
Her organization works with legislators at the State and National level and the Veterans Administration to provide benefits to the families of the fallen in combat.
By working with her current organization and other groups in the community, Ms. Jimenez is working to raise awareness that lives were taken in war but the families left behind need support. Ms. Jimenez wants to devote her time and energy to the Fallen community and make sure that those who gave the ultimate in combat will have care extended to their families.
Captain Kevin Gordon, Commander
West Valley Station, CHP
On June 7, 2013, Mr. Gallardo, a tow truck driver witnessed a CHP officer involved in a confrontation with a suspect on the Ventura Freeway. Mr. Gallardo responded and assisted the officer in making an arrest and subduing the suspect. Mr. Gallardo did not know the full circumstances but he got involved. The suspect with whom the officer was involved that day was attempting to commit suicide and Mr. Gallardo ultimately saved the suspect’s life by getting involved and providing assistance.
The suspect was ultimately transported to a mental hospital and the CHP officer, Sean Spaulding sustained minor injuries as a result of the incident.
On September 18, 2013, Mr. McVicker was riding his bicycle on Muholland Highway when he observed a large cloud of smoke down an embankment. As he approached the smoke, he observed a vehicle – a Chevrolet Suburban — catching fire. Mr. McVicker ran down the embankment and yelled at the driver to get out but she failed to respond. Mr. McVicker forced the door open and unbuckled her seat belt and pulled her from the vehicle. He waited for emergency equipment to respond and comforted the driver. His actions were heroic and he is commended for his bravery. The driver was transported to Northridge Hospital with minor injuries.