The San Juan Chapter of the American Red Cross hosted its second annual Real Heroes Breakfast and Awards ceremony Thursday.
Jim Henderson, chairman of the San Juan County Commission, said the county was appreciative of all individuals who have made a difference.
"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito," he said.
Similar events have become significant fundraisers for Red Cross branches throughout the state, said Cindy Adams, the regional CEO of the Red Cross in New Mexico. The events bring in money from ticket sales and corporate sponsorships.
About 200 people attended the Farmington fundraiser Thursday.
The need for a strong Red Cross in New Mexico was highlighted in the early part of the month.
The Red Cross provided emergency shelter to about 50 Lincoln County residents evacuated from their homes because of the Little Bear Fire near Ruidoso that has charred forests in recent weeks. The agency provided food and clothing to additional residents in the area.
About 2,000 Red Cross staff 95 percent of which are volunteers are working 24-hour days in response to Little Bear. A group of San Juan County volunteers
Jon Barela, the cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Economic Development Department, was the keynote speaker at the event. Barela said the Red Cross plays a significant part in New Mexico's emergency response.
The Red Cross "helps save taxpayer dollars and accomplish things government alone can't accomplish," he said. "As we talk, people in New Mexico are suffering, and as we talk, people at the Red Cross are there to help."
¥ Madison Steiner, Good Samaritan Adult Hero
Steiner is a young Farmington woman who started a booming and inspiring company called Peach's Neet Feet in July. She hand-painted nearly 300 pairs of shoes and delivered them to children battling life-threatening illnesses.
Her company has gained national sponsors, including Vans and Converse, who are negotiating to provide Steiner with canvas shoes she will paint for children. Steiner is not paid for her work.
"We're creating hope, inspiration and random acts of kindness," she said.
¥ Austin Charging, Good Samaritan Youth Hero.
Charging, a 15-year Piedra Vista High School school, turned his last two spring break vacations into international philanthropy projects.
He raised money for Haitian earthquake victims during his break in 2011, and this year he traveled to Kenya where he helped build houses as part of a church trip.
"I was nervous wondering what I could do because I was so young," he said. "But I went for it and I think I made a little bit of a difference."
¥ Ben Thorsheim and David Lope, Firefighter Heroes.
Thorsheim and Lopez, both Farmington firefighters, work with juvenile offenders charged with crimes that involve fire.
They also work with children to teach them how to prepare for fires at home and escape. Thorsheim said they started their volunteer work in response to the injuries they respond to during their normal workday.
"We get to see people hurt every day and we don't like it," he said.
¥ Betty Berry, Pet Hero
Betty Berry moved to Farmington from Texas in 1951 and quickly became a voice for the county's unlucky pets and animals. Berry helps run low-cost shot clinics and is instrumental in regional development of animal shelters and said she will be vocal in upcoming months as she tries to raise the final funds needed for the Farmington Animal Shelter.
Berry is a board member of the San Juan Animal League.
¥ Brian Cillessen, Military Hero
Cillessen earned the county's fourth-highest military honor for his role in a four-hour firefight in Afghanistan. Of his time in Afghanistan, Cillessen said he is most proud of meeting and creating an understanding with Afghan people.
"We shook hands with people who hated western society and made strides in that particular region," he said.
¥ Steven Malarchick, Medical Hero
Malarchick helped save several San Juan Regional Medical Center employees and a $7 million helicopter.
Malarchick, an AirCare paramedic for the hospital, was on a flight Nov. 6 dispatched near Northern Navajo Edge Casino at 3:30 a.m. because of a head-on collision. As the helicopter approached the landing zone near the crash site, Malarchick noticed the helicopter was headed toward power lines.
He is credited with alerting the pilot and getting him to stop. Malarchick has served on the hospital's AirCare staff for six years and has participated on more than 1,000 flights.
¥ Greg and Georgette Allen, Law Enforcement Hero
The husband-wife team at the Farmington Police Department has a reputation for helping domestic violence and sexual abuse victims. Georgette is a victim advocate and Greg is a detective who is soon to retire. The couple frequently attends court hearings to support victims when they testify.
¥ George and Melissa Sharpe, Humanitarians of the Year
The Farmington couple co-chaired the San Juan County United Way's 2011 funding campaign, bringing in $3.2 million. It was the biggest sum of money raised for the agency during its annual campaign.
¥ Carlton Downing, Workplace Hero
Downing rushed to the aid of a San Juan County staff member who went into cardiac arrest at the San Juan College Health and Human Performance Center.
A facility manager at the facility, Downing responded to the person and started CPR immediately. While emergency responders were en route, Downing used an Automated External Defibrillator, which successfully revived the person.