SHERIDAN — The Good Samaritan Awards were held Saturday night at the Holiday Inn, as The Salvation Army honored eight individuals and couples from the Sheridan community who have dedicated their time to selflessly serving others without concern for recognition.
Those honored were Jerry and Judy Prescott, Dick Warren, Jim Schlenker, Karl and Donna Hunt, Don Knievel, Jo Forbes, Lou and Charise Westphal and Doris Case. Don Warriner, captain at The Salvation Army, presented certificates to each honoree.
The humble nature of each recipient was evident throughout the presenting of the awards.
Upon receiving their award, the Westphals were asked which of their many good deeds weren’t mentioned by their nominator; they simply replied “We won’t say.”
Schlenker was nominated by Warriner himself and upon receiving his award took to the mic to say that the captain’s nomination incorrectly gave him credit for paying for storage units and that he wanted to recognize the many people who make donations to help cover that cost.
After each recipient was honored a keynote speech was presented by Irene Deanda Lewis, executive director of the Los Angeles Red Shield Youth and Community Center.
Warriner stated that the Red Shield hosts a similar awards ceremony for their community, which served as inspiration for the creation of Saturday’s awards.
Lewis said that she was raised by the grace of The Salvation Army and grew up knowing she wanted to be involved.
“Growing up, we didn’t have a Christmas celebration, and one year The Salvation Army director came to our house on Christmas Day with a turkey dressed as Santa Clause,” she said. “We later learned he went to each one of The Salvation Army families houses that day and it made our Christmas.”
Lewis said Red Shield is located in a high crime, high density area called Pico Union, and she has served as director here for 24 years.
“Every day I would see the trauma in the lives of these children and the fear but through the Red Shield I saw what these children need is a safe place to receive help and the love of god,” she said.
Lewis stressed that like her operation, Sheridan’s must be a whole community effort with partners at various levels including state and city officials.
“Captain Warriner told me the Sheridan location served a lot of people but to watch him this week, I was amazed,” she said. “We’re fighting every day to bring hope to the lives of those who have lost it. Hands linked together make the difference.”