An annual luncheon to honor local heroes took place this afternoon and recipients came from a broad cross section of the region, but they all had a common commitment to a positive quality of life.
20 awards were handed out by the Santa Barbara Independent, after the winners were featured in a recent edition of the publication.
They were picked by the paper’s staff out of a list of nominations from community members.
Among the winners were the emergency dispatchers and medical personnel who responded to the mass murder crisis May 23, in Isla Vista.
Recipient Lindsay Hedricks, a dispatcher, accepted the award next to Sheriff Bill Brown who praised the staff for the focused response that helped to save many lives during the shooting and stabbing spree by Elliot Rodger.
“It was an awful, awful night and everyone had their “A-game” on and we did what we had to do to keep deputies safe and keep the public safe. It could have been a lot worse,” said Hedricks who said a couple of extra dispatchers were on duty that night and all were needed. “Someone was looking over us,” she said. The team handled 121 calls in a half an hour during the incident.
Other winners included Karen Lee Stevens with the reading program called ARF! that uses dogs to encourage children to read.
Literacy tutor Beverly Schwartzberg, bicycle advocate Ed France, Girls Inc. director Monica Spear, and youth sports leader Ed Holdren also picked up honors.
Each was welcomed to speak for a few minutes by Independent Editor-in-Chief Marianne Partridge.
A list of the winners can be found at :http://www.independent.com/news/local-heroes/