Wings Over Wine Country 2011 Air Show

First Responders ~ Bravery

This Gallery is in recognition of All First Responders. These photographs highlight a small portion of the many public events held every year here in Sonoma County. These First Responders participate with all of us by providing their knowledge and technical skills in helping create the level of safety we have come to expect.

It is my hope that a few of these may offer a glimpse into who these men and women are that stand side by side with us 24-7.

All to often we expect when we are in crisis, our fire, police- first responders are there to help us & to offer support. Now it is our turn to support these “first responders and their families including the” family of firefighters.


The First Responders were the brave fireman, EMT's, and police that arrived to the scene first and risked certain death to rescue those trapped. "Bravery" is a word often used to describe something that we feel the average person would not do. In the case of First Responders, "bravery" is an understatement. We all know the stories of those who risked their lives to save the lives of complete strangers. What most of us do not know is the health problems often caused by these acts of benevolence and the struggle many of these men and women have had or may have to endure. When running into a building to save the lives of another human being, I doubt any First Responders worries about injuries, from asthma, cancer, respiratory illnesses or musculoskeletal trauma. Just as we never forget the events of a tragedy, we should also never forget the bravery of our First Responders.

Haitiʼs Earthquake

Recognizing the bravery and efforts of the United States Armed Forces, local first responders, and other members of Operation Unified Response for their swift and coordinated action in light of the devastation wrought upon the nation of Haiti after a horrific 7.0 magnitude earthquake.


Medical: Jon Batzdorff has a passion for helping those in Sonoma County, as well as those in developing and third world countries. His business, as a prosthetist, provides physically disabled people with artificial limbs and orthopedic braces. Batzdorff also has offered his services free of charge to people in struggling countries all over the world through ProsthetiKa, a non-profit organization that he founded. When the Haiti earthquake struck, he put together a team that travelled to help those in desperate need of prosthetics, as well as to train others in Haiti to create and fit prosthetics, so they can continue to help those after his teams leave. His dedication and foresight gives people an opportunity to find a job in a country stricken by disasters, poverty, and unemployment.

Animal: Doris Duncan has dedicated her life to helping animals. Currently Director of Sonoma County Wild Life Rescue, she’s been involved with the organization for 13 years. When the BP oil spill took place in June, 2010, she went to New Orleans to help clean pelicans who were contaminated from the spill. Already properly trained, Duncan risked her life to help the animals that she loves, making two trips to the Gulf where she performed emotionally draining but lifesaving work.

Military: Former U.S. Navy Corpsman Jason Deguzman has been awarded a Purple Heart, two Bronze Star Medals, and the Combat Medic’s Badge, for his heroism while he served on active duty in Iraq. He provided lifesaving medical care for more than 30 people on two separate occasions, including one in which he was injured. He was honored again in 2010, when he was chosen by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to receive the Michael P. Murphy scholarship, named for a Navy SEAL who was killed in combat in Afghanistan.

Rescue Professional: Chris Wilkes never stops saving lives, whether he is paid to do so or not. On a one-day ski trip, Little Lake Fire & Rescue Training Chief and Firefighter Chris Wilkes, his daughter and her boyfriend saved the life of a young man who had fallen into an eight-feet-deep hole in an icy creek off one of the trails. Hearing cries, he spotted the young man hand reaching out of the snow for help. Wilkes pulled the man to safety, but recognized serious signs of hypothermia. As other skiers ignored Wilkes and the rescue in process, he forcefully recruited help until the young man could be taken care of by the ski patrol.


Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.
-- General Omar Bradley

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
--Ambrose Redmoon

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear. --Mark Twain Heroism ... is endurance for one moment more.
--George Kennan (Letter to Henry Monroe Rogers, July 25, 1921)

Courage is reclaiming your life after a devastating event robs you of your confidence and self-esteem. It is facing tomorrow with a firm resolve to reach deep within yourself to find another strength, another talent...It is taking yourself to another level of your own existence where you are once again whole, productive, special...
--Catherine Britton

I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
--Christopher Reeve

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