Local heroes recognized

APTOS — The American Red Cross of the Central Coast honored 11 community members for their acts of courage or compassion at the 12th Annual Heroes Breakfast on Friday at Twin Lakes Church.

In front of a crowd of hundreds of business folks, politicians and other community leaders, during a buffet breakfast, the American Red Cross said the heroes “had left a lasting and positive impact on the residents of the Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.” 

The awardees this year are:

• Animal Rescue Hero: Rosanna Leighton of Seaside

• Disaster Services Hero: Sarah Blackstone of Monterey

• Education Hero: Willie Stokes of San Juan Bautista

• Environmental Heroes: Alex Weber and Jack Johnston of Carmel

• First Responder Hero: Kraig Evans of Santa Cruz

• Good Samaritan Hero - Adult: Michael Dremel of Seaside

• Good Samaritan Hero - Youth: Reese Selck of Watsonville

• International Services Hero: Jon Winston of Santa Cruz                

• Medical Hero: Larry deGhetaldi of Soquel

• Service to the Armed Forces Hero: Lisa Tkoch-McFarland of Felton

In January, then-15-year-old Reese Selck and his 11-year-old brother Charlie were walking together alongside a rain-swollen drainage canal in Watsonville. Suddenly, Charlie’s footing gave way, and he fell into the fast-moving waters, which flowed into a large underground culvert before surging into the Pajaro River.

But Reese was able to grab Charlie and hold onto him long enough to keep his head above water, and he also managed to dial 9-1-1 on his cellphone.

About that time, Amber Koenig, who lived nearby, jumped into the water to assist the brothers; the trio was soon joined by Santa Cruz County County Sheriff deputy Brian Erbe. With both adults struggling to keep themselves, Reese and Charlie from being pulled under, Watsonville Fire Department firefighters John Stone and Ben Avis arrived.

Eventually, everyone was safely extracted from the water.

“But without Reese Selck’s initial response, a young life would surely have been lost,” Red Cross officials said.

In a video presented to the crowd, Reese said he just did what he had to do.

“After that my brother and I slept together for about a week,” Reese said. “I mean, we still fight, but we also bonded.”


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