The 20 honorees stood out among the crowd of some 350 public safety officials, elected officials, police and fire chiefs, hospital personnel and community members who assembled Thursday night for a dinner and awards gala in Anaheim.
It wasn’t just the red-rose corsages pinned above their hearts.
It was the humility with which they accepted their moment in the spotlight.
The 20 honorees all would tell you they were just doing their jobs — officers and deputies, firefighters, nurses, doctors, deputy coroners and others doing what they do.
Volunteers with Trauma Intervention Programs Orange County would tell you otherwise.
The volunteers would tell you that this year’s recipients of TIP’s Heroes with Heart awards showed extraordinary compassion to someone in a crisis.
Friends, colleagues and relatives of the 20 honorees would agree.
“In some ways, what they did may seem trivial, but in the grand scheme of things, what they did changed the course of action for families and helped them start the healing process,” said Kristi Hofstetter Batiste, TIP’s crisis team manager for Orange County.
TIP’s 85 or so volunteers in Orange County each are on call for three 12-hour shifts a month to supplement the work emergency responders and hospital personnel do when bad things happen.
They console and provide support and resources to loved ones of people who get killed in car crashes, victims of homicides and sexual assaults, and victims of just about any type of trauma or disaster you can imagine.
Each year, TIP volunteers nominate about 250 emergency responders and hospital personnel whom they feel took the extra step to help families in crisis.
In 2014, TIP volunteers assisted 3,100 emergency responders and more than 6,500 victims in Orange County.
The recipients of the 2014 Heroes with Heart award, recognized at a ceremony at the Anaheim Hilton on Nov. 6, are:
Deputy Coroner Brooke Beasley, Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. — “On Jan. 26, 2014 I was called to a residence in Irvine to support the family of a 15-year-old female who died. Deputy Coroner Brooke Beasleywith the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was at the scene. I witnessed Ms. Beasley providethe father with extreme compassion and important information. It was obvious she genuinely cared for him and the entirefamily. Ms. Beasley’s caring demeanor in this situation was not unusual. I have worked with her on a number of occasions, and she is always professional, kind and considerate. I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of a Heroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Dick Oakley
Anaheim Police Officer Happy Medina — “On April 5, 2014 I was called to a residence in Anaheim to support the family of a 65-year-old male who died. I was met by Officer Happy Medinaof the Anaheim Police Department. Throughout the situation Officer Medina never stopped showing concern for the wife of the deceased. He even reached out to a young child across the street who had grown up as a neighbor of the deceased. Officer Medina is one of the most compassionate and caring people I have ever met. I am very happy that this ‘unsung hero’ is being honored with a Heroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Rachel Tighe
Anaheim Fire & Rescue Capt. Dan Mosman — On April 1, 2014 I was called to a local hospital to support the son of a woman who was killed in a house fire in Yorba Linda. This son and his brother lived at the residence, which was destroyed. Capt. Dan Mosmanwith Anaheim Fire & Rescue was off duty and lived in the neighborhood. After helping at the scene of the fire, Capt. Mosman responded to the hospital. He was able to relate information to both sons about what might have happened to their home and to their mother. He also offered to board up the home. He really is deserving of a Heroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Diane Clanton
Lawayne Ponzio, RN, Hoag Hospital, Irvine — “On May 10, 2014 I was called to Hoag Irvine to support the wife and children of a man who died suddenly. Lawayne Ponzio, R.N.was the nurse who was assisting the family. She was an angel! She was so kind and loving to the children when sheanswered all of their questions and allowed them to stay with their father as long as they wanted. Ms. Ponzio is a real asset toHoag Hospital and to the nursing profession. As a nurse myself, I’m honored to have nominated Lawayne Ponzio, R.N. for theHeroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Linda Oldoerp
Deputy Kyle Sheek, Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. — “On June 3, 2014 I was called to unincorporated Tustin to support the family of an 87-year-old man who had died. Deputy Kyle Sheekof the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was there when I arrived. How he dealt with the family was amazing.He was reverent, helpful, respectful, concerned and caring. When the deceased, who was a veteran, was removed from thehome under an American flag, Deputy Sheek stood at attention and saluted. It was a very moving gesture that was mostappreciated by the family. I believe that Deputy Sheek is very deserving of a Heroes With Heart Award!” — TIP volunteer Tom Walsh
Officer Agustina Arias, Irvine PD — “On March 12, 2014 I was called to a home in Irvine to support the family of a 46-year-old man who died. I was greeted by Officer Agustina Ariaswith the Irvine Police Department. Throughout the situation, Officer Arias was so respectful and kind. She was very gentle with her questions and very patient with the mother of the deceased. She exhibited empathy, compassion and kindness that obviously came from within. Irvine PD is lucky to have Officer Arias on their team, and I was lucky to see her in action.” — TIP volunteer Margie McInnis
Kiwi Burtt, RN, Western Medical Center, Santa Ana — “On May 28, 2014 I was called to Western Medical Center, Santa Ana to support the family of a homicide victim. Kiwi Burtt, R.N.was the charge nurse. She was incredible. She located baby wipes to change a baby, chased down doctors, kepteveryone informed of news as soon as she knew it and consoled each and everyone there. Ms. Burtt is an amazing, lovingand kind person who I am proud to have nominated for a Heroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Pam Murphy
Cpl. Gregory Brintle, Brea PD — “On May 16, 2014 I was called to support the parents whose son had committed suicide. The parents were devastated. Although I am a veteran TIP volunteer this was a very difficult call for me. Fortunately for the parents and myself Cpl. Gregory Brintleand Officer Teri Hillof the Brea Police Department were on the scene. They were wonderful with the parents and with me. They were professional and caring with this distraught couple. These officers are really a class act. I am very pleased they are being awarded Heroes With Heart Awards.” — TIP volunteer Patti Mac Leith
Chief Ken Cruz, OC Fire Authority — “On Jan. 20, 2014 we responded to Mission Hospital to support the wife and son of a firefighter who had died. There we encountered Battalion Chief Ken Cruzwho was coordinating the Orange County Fire Authority’s effort to support the fallen firefighter’s family. We were very impressed with Chief Cruz’s professionalism and compassion toward the family. He demonstrated that he is a professional firefighter, a caring and concerned member of our community and an outstanding and caring human being. We believe that Chief Cruz is very worthy of a Heroes With Hear Award.” — TIP volunteers Marc Denton and Nevine Stewart
Cpl. Jason Farris, Laguna Beach PD — “Cpl. Jason Farrisis the Community Resource Officer for the Laguna Beach Police Department. He deals with the homeless. He not only works directly with them, but he also assists those who work with the homeless. Recently he helped the executive director of a homeless shelter after one of her residents died. Cpl. Farris stayed by her side to explain procedures, made arrangements and provided emotional support. I am very pleased that the TIP organization is honoring this outstanding police officer.” — TIP Board Chair Rose Hancock
Angela Fuentes, RRT, UCI Medical Center — “We believe Angela Fuentes, RRTis a Hero With Heart who needs to be recognized. On several calls to UCI Medical Center, we have observed her ever-present smile, calm demeanor and her ability to simplify complicated medical terms and procedures to loved ones of patients. Angela’s caring mannerisms, soft touch and cheerful presence instills hope to those in the most difficult situations. In a nutshell, she embodies the true characteristics of a TIP Hero With Heart.” — TIP volunteers Vicki and Gary Johnpeer
Jennifer Foran, RN, CHOC Children’s — “On June 20, 2014 I was called to Children’s Hospital of Orange County to support the family of a child who nearly drowned. I worked with Jennifer Foran, R.N.Jennifer was so calm the whole time and kept the family continually informed. During the entire evening she was totally focused on the patient’s care while at the same time showing compassion to the mom. What an amazing nurse! She certainly is deserving of a Heroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Tracy McDonald
Officer Jahseam George, Orange PD — “On Dec. 15, 2013 I was called to a residence to support the wife of a man who had died. Officer Jahseam Georgeof the Orange Police Department met me at the home. He offered to help the wife who was in shock make mortuary arrangements. He related personal stories as a way of relating with the wife. I was amazed at the patience and the communication skills practiced by Officer George. I admire Officer George, and he is very deserving of a Heroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Nanette Capriccio
Officer Teri Hill, Brea PD — “On May 16, 2014 I was called to support the parents whose son had completed suicide. The parents were devastated. Although I am a veteran TIP Volunteer this was a very difficult call for me. Fortunately for the parents and myself Cpl. Gregory Brintleand Officer Teri Hillof the Brea Police Department were on the scene. They were wonderful with the parents and with me. They were professional and caring with this distraught couple. These officers are really a class act. I am very pleased they are being awarded Heroes With Heart Awards.” — TIP volunteer Patti Mac Leith
Sgt. Chris Johnson, CHP — “On July 6, 2014 I was called to the 55 freeway. Sgt. Chris Johnson of the California Highway Patrol was supporting a driver who had accidently hit a pedestrian when I arrived. Sgt. Johnson’s caring and concern for the driver was amazing. I’ll never forget the sight of him leaning against a side wall with the driver so that he could be at his same level and comfort him. It was beautiful to see. I nominated Sgt. Johnson for the Heroes With Heart Award, and I’m very pleased he was selected as a winner.” — TIP volunteer Sujita Samuel
Officer Joshua Kuo, Costa Mesa PD — “On March 28, 2014 I responded to a hotel to support members of a ballet group after their artistic director died. Officer Joshua Kuoof the Costa Mesa Police Department was very helpful to me and to the many distraught ballet members whodidn’t have family or friends in the Orange County area. It was a very stressful situation and Officer Kuo needed to deal with anumber of upset and angry members of the ballet group. Throughout the situation he was kind to everyone while maintaininghis professional demeanor. I am very pleased that Officer Kuo who I nominated has won a Heroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Mardi Frum
Michelle Maloney, RN, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center — “On Aug. 25, 2013, I was called to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Laguna Hills to support the husband and friends of a woman who had died. I worked with Michelle Maloney, R.N.Ms. Maloney was extremely compassionate with the husband, and although her shift was over she stayed for three hours to provide comfort and support. Michelle has an amazing ability to personally connect to those around her.” — TIP volunteer Valerie Rehnelt
Jenifer McAninch, RN, Placentia Linda Hospital — “On April 21, 2014 I was called to Placentia Linda Hospital to support the niece of a man who died. Jenifer McAninch, R.N.,met me in the lobby and explained everything to me. When the niece arrived, I was very impressed with how compassionateJenifer was with her and her husband. Before I left with the niece to try to find the sister of the deceased to notify her, Jenifergave me her cell number and asked me to call her to make sure everything was OK. I am delighted Jenifer McAninch is aHeroes With Heart recipient. She deserves it!” — TIP volunteer Peggy Awalt
Sepi Reissmueller, RN, UCI Medical Center — “On Nov. 10, 2013, I was called to UCI Medical Center to support the family of an 82-year-old male who was critically injured in a fall. I worked with Sepi Reissmueller, R.N.Sepi went beyond her normal duties to work very humanely and in a heartfelt manner with the family to make sure they understood their situation and to meet their needs. I have worked with lots of nurses as a TIP volunteer, and Sepi Reissmueller is the best! She is indeed a Hero With Heart.” — TIP volunteer Bill Underwood
Kristin Rodriguez, DO, Placentia Linda Hospital, recipient of the Marianne Cinat, MD Memorial Heroes with Heart Award — “On May 6, 2014 I was called to Placentia Linda Hospital’s emergency department to support the husband of a critically ill woman who was all alone. Of course this man was very upset and he had many questions. Despite being very busy, Kristin Rodriguez, DO,provided this distraught husband with support throughout the evening. She spoke to him in a gentle and caring manner, and she answered his questions in detail. At the end of the evening the husband remarked that he had never dealt with such a caring doctor. I am very pleased that Dr. Rodriguez is receiving the Marianne Cinat M.D. Memorial Heroes With Heart Award.” — TIP volunteer Roy Watson
Editor’s note: The photo at the top of this story shows Anaheim Fire & Rescue Capt. Paramedic Dan Mosman receiving his Heroes With Heart award Thursday night from TIP volunteer Diane Clanton. For more information about TIP, visit tiporangecounty.org