Sunday, September 10, 2006

Heroes honored at Suisun City waterfront luau

From Daily Republic
By Susan Winlow

SUISUN CITY - Tables with red cloths dotted a portion of Suisun City Waterfront Park Saturday evening as the Red Cross honored area residents hailed as heroes with its Hero's Luau.

Dave Harris and the Voltones played 1970s rock as people in Hawaiian attire mingled with others and toured booths depicting recent disasters, animal CPR - complete with dog practice dummies - and a silent auction.

This is the fifth year the Solano County Chapter of the Bay Area American Red Cross chose to honor five area men and women in four categories: Act of Kindness, Courageous Act, Community Service and Lifesaving.

The evening, complete with cocktails and dinner catered by The Outback Restaurant, honored Vacaville residents Rhdora Kallum and Joyce Vancuren for assisting an accident victim; Grant Tokiwa, a Vacaville fire department member for his consistent dedication to worthy causes such as fund-raising for the Alisa Ann Rusch Burn Foundation; Larry Palmer for wading into the frigid American River near Kyburz to save a man whose car plunged into the river; and Vacaville's Sarah Vasquez, 19, who used CPR in May to revive a 2-year-old boy in her care who choked on his vomit.

"I'm very proud of her," said Bridget Clark, whose son Spencer Clark is still alive because of Vasquez's quick thinking and CPR knowledge. "It was the scariest phone call I've ever gotten."
Clark was in the Bay Area when she received the call her son stopped breathing. She didn't know how to do CPR and is glad Vasquez was with her son at the time.

"I acted instantly," Vasquez said. "I turned him over, cleared him out and did CPR."

Unlike Vasquez, Palmer didn't know the person he saved.

On his way to Lake Tahoe last winter, Palmer, a Fairfield Fire Department engineer, and his family passed a vehicle nearly submerged in the American River off Highway 50 near Kyburz.

Palmer and two others waded eight to 10 feet from shore into the icy, quick-moving river and pulled the man, who was trapped in his roofless vehicle and submerged to his neck in water, from the river with a rope.

Earning public kudos for a job well-done is something Palmer doesn't see much.

"It's different," he said. "I'm fortunate that I have a job that gets to affect people's lives (but) you don't get a lot of recognition for it."

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or

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