Red Cross Honors Local Heroes

Kern County representatives with the American Red Cross have applauded 11 people in 10 categories that sacrificed themselves to help others over the last year.

One of the people applauded Monday night was 16-year-old Madison Ridley, who gave hand-made blankets to cancer patients. She said she got the idea after her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“When I started this charity, I didn’t think I’d get this much recognition- I did it to help the cancer patients,” Ridley said. “It’s an honor.

Ridley was given the youth hero award.

Gilbert Valdez, who was given the law enforcement hero honor, saved a boy that trapped his hand in an escalator at a JCPenny in Bakersfield last November.

“My 29 years in law enforcement with the sheriff’s department – I retired as a detective – kicked in without me thinking,” Valdez said. “I saw something that I needed to do and handled it.”

Congressman Kevin McCarthy emceed Monday’s event for an 11th-consecutive year.

“Saving people in fires, to bringing somebody back from a heart attack and not even knowing them – it says a lot about our community and the quality of life of where we live,” McCarthy said.

The 11 honorees in will be applauded again during a fundraiser dinner on April 18th at the Paramount Citrus Aviation Hanger on Skyway Drive.