Wednesday, October 20, 2021
By Press ReleasePhilanthropy & Nonprofits

American Red Cross to Honor Local Heroes

First responders, canine nonprofit, school administrator, teen cancer patient among honorees at the Inland Empire Heroes Luncheon on Tuesday, February 18

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (February 12, 2020) The American Red Cross is honoring individuals from Riverside and San Bernardino Counties for their outstanding acts of heroism, dedication and service at the organization’s Inland Empire Heroes Luncheon. The event will be held on Tuesday, February 18, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa and features radio and sports personality Jeff Pope as master of ceremonies.

“We are so proud to recognize ordinary people with extraordinary courage from across the Inland Empire that are saving lives and creating safer communities,” says Lois Beckman, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Riverside County. “Attendees will be introduced to unsung heroes, such as a teen with brain cancer helping fellow hospital patients, a local school administrator who used CPR to save her colleague’s life, a nonprofit placing service dogs with veterans and so many others.”

An independent committee of leaders in the business and civic community chose heroes in eight categories. The 2020 Inland Empire Heroes Luncheon honorees include the following class of local standouts.

Animal Welfare Hero: Fire Captain Tyler Reynolds, City of Riverside Fire Department Riverside County

Fire Captain Tyler Reynolds was instrumental in establishing the Horse & Animal Rescue Team (HART) in Riverside County after he saw the need for a trained team to respond to large-animal technical rescues. With partners, Captain Reynolds created, funded and implemented the innovative HART program, which provides rescue services to protect the welfare of the horse population in Riverside County.

Corporate Hero: Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water Riverside County

Arrowhead® Brand Mountain Spring Water, one of Nestlé Waters North America’s regional spring water brands, has been a longtime partner of the American Red Cross. Arrowhead supports the mission of the Red Cross through generous financial and in-kind donations, hosting blood drives and volunteering at Sound the Alarm events. Arrowhead employees are champions of the Red Cross and are committed to helping people when they need it most.

Disaster Services Hero: Alexander Tardy, National Weather Service Riverside & San Bernardino Counties

Alexander Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS), plays a critical role in ensuring that the Red Cross and other community organizations and first responder agencies are ready for disasters and weather emergencies in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The resources and services provided by NWS and the education and community outreach provided by Alexander Tardy helps the Red Cross and community partners prepare for and respond to disasters big and small.

First Responder Hero: Deputy Destiny Derryberry San Bernardino County

On the morning of March 30, 2019, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Destiny Derryberry responded to call from a family in Big Bear Lake. When she arrived on scene, Deputy Derryberry found a man without a pulse  thinking he was beyond saving, family members had stopped administering CPR. Deputy Derryberry determined there was still hope and began chest compressions.Later, fire personnel thanked Deputy Derryberry for her efforts, crediting her quick response as being instrumental in saving the man’s life.

Gift of Life Hero: William “Bill” Reines Riverside County

Platelets have a brief shelf life of just five days, making committed platelet donors vital to fulfilling the Red Cross mission. William “Bill” Reines started donating platelets in 1987. He regularly commutes across county lines from his home in Corona to the Red Cross Santa Ana Blood Donation Center to donate. Bill has donated more than 417 units of platelets, helping to make a lifesaving difference in the lives of thousands of hospital patients.

Good Samaritan Hero: Kristin Kraus San Bernardino County

When SOAR Charter Academy administrator Kristin Kraus took a Red Cross CPR/AED/First Aid training class, she had no idea her lifesaving skills would soon be put the test. One day, Kristin was alerted that a teacher’s aide had lost consciousness. She jumped into action, rendering CPR and AED aid until first responders arrived. Kristin’s actions helped to save her colleague’s life. In recognition of her efforts, Kristin has also received a Lifesaving Award from American Red Cross Training Services.

Service to the Armed Forces Hero: Canine Support Teams, Inc. Riverside County

For more than 30 years, Canine Support Teams, Inc. (CST) has served the community by training and placing service dogs with clients with disabilities and, most recently, with veterans. Since its inception, CST has placed hundreds of assistance dogs with people in need. In 2012, CST launched PAWZ for Wounded Veterans, providing service dogs and specially-trained PTSD service dogs to support veterans with disabilities.

Youth Hero: Lezdy Rodriguez San Bernardino County

Two years ago, Lezdy Rodriguez was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Although many would be disheartened by this news, Lezdy has committed his time to helping other kids undergoing cancer treatment. Lezdy started the Snak Pak Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing joy to cancer patients at the Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. By sharing his passion for art with children who face the same life-threatening conditions he does, Lezdy hopes to show them that they are not alone.

In addition to the inspiring heroes being honored at the event, 25-year-old Albert Madrid will be posthumously honored with the Spirit of Hope Award. Albert tragically lost his life in 2019, saving two young children from a mobile home fire in Highland.

The Inland Empire Heroes Luncheon is made possible thanks to the generosity of sponsors, including: Presenting Sponsors Babcock Laboratories and Sysco Riverside; Disaster Relief Sponsors IAPMO, J.J. Roofing and Raising Cane’s; Community Preparedness Sponsors Altura Credit Union, High Desert Association of Realtors, Hope Reigns Foundation, Inland Empire Business Journal, Modern Woodmen, Opus Bank and Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians along with other local sponsors.

“The support of our sponsors enables us to honor individuals making a difference in our communities, as well as raise funds for vital Red Cross services across the Inland Empire,” says Yevette Baysinger, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of San Bernardino County.

For more information about the Inland Empire Heroes Luncheon, please visit

About the American Red Cross Desert to the Sea Region
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. The American Red Cross Desert to the Sea Region has proudly served Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties for more than 100 years. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Inland Empire Business Journal
The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.