Press Release – October 20, 2012
Media contact: Gary Washburn, Scoopwash@HotMail.com,
818-718-8671. This program is scheduled from 11:30 am to 2 pm
(Northridge, CA) – Leshonda “Shy” Gill was serving as a Army Chemicals Operations Specialist in 2003 when her vehicle struck a roadside bomb. Shy was extensively injured including crushed orbital eye sockets, the loss of a kidney, spleen, parts of the intestines and multiple teeth. Unseen, though, was the PTSD/Combat Trauma that has haunted her since she returned home.
She eventually went to a shelter at the Transitional Housing for Veterans in Inglewood. Through their assistance, she has been able to move on in her life and reach out to at-risk youth by sharing her stories.
Kiwanis president Sharon Rose said that Ms Gill is one of several heroes who will be honored by the Kiwanis Club of Northridge at the 11th annual Courageous Citizens Awards lunch at the Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills. Lashonda will be honored by Debbie Gregory, CEO, the Militaryconnection.com.
The criteria for the Courageous Citizens award are:
–Citizen has come to the aid of a victim;
–Citizen has helped to capture a suspect;
–Citizen has helped prevent a crime from taking place;
–Citizen has testified in the face of unusual pressures;
–Citizen has acted selflessly.
Event Chairman Richard Leyden cited Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quotation, “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer” in citing the purpose of the Courageous Citizens program.
LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas said that the LAPD has selected two groups of citizens to honor – one posthumously.
Chief Villegas said that four Canoga Park residents will be honored for stopping a rape in progress, in daylight hours, near Sherman Way and Variel. Villegas said that Karen Ronquillo, OscarRonquillo, Bruce Robinson and Angela Renteria witnessed the rape and intervened to assist the homeless woman being raped and helped the LAPD locate and apprehend the suspects.
Chief Villegas said that the department will also posthumously honor Irma Zamora and Stacey Schreiber for trying to rescue a driver trapped in his car after he struck a fire hydrant and knocked down a high power electrical line in Valley Village. They stepped into electrified water and were electrocuted.
Being honored by Kathleen Adams from Center for Assault Treatment Services (CATS) will be Sheri Cummings. Ms. Cummings was raped in her own home while her young daughters slept. Ms. Cummings testified against the perpetrator, later identified as a serial rapist, and he is presently in prison. Ms. Cummings will be honored for her testimony in the trial and support she provides to other assault victims.
Rafer Johnson, a co-founder of Special Olympics Southern California and a notable sports figure, commentator and philanthropist, will be honoring Dustin Plunkett, an outstanding young man who has accomplished much in his life. Special Olympics has empowered Dustin to take control of his life and overcome a speech impediment. Because of Special Olympics, Dustin today is a coach and an inspiration to a variety of young athletes suffering a variety of disabilities. He did not let his inabilities interfere with doing much with his life.
For additional information about this wonderful community thank you, contact Richard Leyden at 818-775-1185 or Richardleyden@yahoo.com. Information regarding advertising opportunities for the luncheon program and purchasing individual tickets or table sponsorships is available at www.courageouscitizens.org.