The County of Fresno will recognize individuals and organizations who have done extraordinary work during the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Creek Fire with the new Frontline Hero Awards at the State of the County Breakfast at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 at Fresno Chaffee Zoo, 894 W. Belmont Avenue.

Fresno County Supervisor and 2021 Chairman of the Board, Steve Brandau, will deliver the keynote address and updates on the County, as well as present the Frontline Hero Awards.

In 2020 and 2021, Fresno County residents experienced the health and economic impacts of the pandemic and Creek Fire, the largest single fire in California history. Despite these challenges, many individuals and organizations rose to the occasion and assisted families, friends, coworkers, communities, and even strangers, a press release stated.

The Frontline Hero Awards were conceived to help highlight some of these heroes and their stories as they continue, even now, to serve the County on the frontlines.

The following individuals and organizations will be honored with the 2021 Frontline Hero Awards:

LifeBridge Community Church will receive the Community Hero Award for providing resources to the residents of northwest Fresno. During the pandemic, LifeBridge held grocery drives for struggling families and door-to-door deliveries to senior citizens to protect them from exposure to COVID-19. They also made homemade sanitizers when supply levels at stores were low.

The Sierra National Forest Fire Crews, California Army National Guard, and CAL FIRE will all receive the Creek Fire Hero Awards for their efforts and placing their lives on the line as they attempted to protect the residential and business properties and wildlife from the devastating Creek Fire. CAL FIRE and Sierra National Forest crews were on the front lines of the fire and were critical in saving lives and property. When the Creek Fire rapidly spread and trapped campers and hikers around Mammoth Pool, The California Air National Guard first anticipated a rescue of 30 people. They made three different airlifts, ultimately saving 242 civilians and 16 dogs.

Latoya Woods, a nurse and program supervisor in the Department of Public Health, will be recognized as this year’s Public Health Hero for her work during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Under her leadership, her COVID-19 Response staff runs the COVID-19 public information line, conducts contact tracing and case investigations under the Medical Investigation Team and collaborates with school districts and congregate living settings on contact

tracing and case investigations.

Deputy Sheriff Jason Ward and Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Chapple will both receive the Sheriff’s Hero Award for their outstanding service to help protect someone’s life while exemplifying professionalism and valor. Both Ward and Chapple received Medals of Achievement under Valor for positioning themselves in harm’s way to comfort and aid a seriously injured traffic collision victim in July 2020 near the intersection of Manning and

Cornelia Avenues near Raisin City.

Among the sponsors of the State of the County Breakfast are Chevron, Fresno Association of Realtors, the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board, Anthem Blue Cross, Bank of America, BMW Fresno, Fresno City College, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, PG&E, Westcare, and many others. The Fresno Chamber of Commerce plans the event with

collaborative involvement from the County of Fresno Board of Supervisors.

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