California Heroes Month honors unsung heroes
By Reem Younis
On Saturday, Nov. 5, California State Senator Joel Anderson hosted a special ceremony at his El Cajon District Office for outstanding heroes who were nominated by their neighbors in honor of California Heroes Month in September. In 2014, the state Senate and Assembly passed Anderson’s resolution that designated September as California Heroes Month in order to honor unsung heroes in our community.
Out of the 35 nominated heroes, 27 heroes attended to personally receive Senate certificates of recognition from Anderson for their unyielding commitment to helping others and their communities. The room was packed with over 80 attendees, including the heroes’ family and friends.
Each hero’s story was shared when his or her name was called, and Anderson took photos and thanked them for their good deeds while the crowd applauded. Everyone listened attentively to the inspiring journeys of their neighbors, including those of Dennis-Michael Broussard and Joan Wyllie.
Dennis-Michael Broussard was one of the heroes who were nominated because of his humanitarian projects abroad. One of the more recent trips was to Africa in the height of the Ebola crisis to deliver water filters to villages in Senegal so that people would have access to clean drinking water.
Joan Wyllie, the Founder and CEO of Nine Girls Ask, was recognized because she has dedicated her life to find a cure for ovarian cancer. Joan was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2008. Multiple physicians who misdiagnosed actually inspired her to create Nine Girls Ask. The organization was founded to provide support and assistance for women and families in similar circumstances. Since its inception, Nine Girls Ask has donated over $1,000,000 to ovarian cancer research and outreach.
Anderson thanked the nominated heroes for their selflessness and commitment to service. He said, “Our community, our state and our country is better because of people like you who go an extra mile to make a difference. It is an honor for me to present these awards to you today and to recognize your outstanding efforts in helping those who are in need.” Anderson also invited all the attendees to his annual Holiday Legislative Open House coming up on Dec. 7 at Toyota of El Cajon.
The purpose of this open house is to hear different proposals and ideas from constituents on how to make government work better, and Anderson shared, “Every year, we collect bill ideas, and it is common for us to get 500 to 700 bill ideas, and [California Heroes Month] was one of the bill ideas that we have received.”
More stories of each hero can be found at Anderson’s website, www.sen.ca.gov/anderson. Click “California Heroes 2016” under “Legislation.”