SPFD Wilhite honored with American Red Cross’ Clara Barton Award

March 22, 2006
Santa Paula News

The American Red Cross-Ventura County will honor a Santa Paula Reserve Firefighter/EMT with the Clara Barton Award at a special ceremony Saturday.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe American Red Cross-Ventura County will honor a Santa Paula Reserve Firefighter/EMT with the Clara Barton Award at a special ceremony Saturday.Aushley Baker Wilhite was named the “Female Emergency Responder of the Year” and will be honored at the “Paint the Town Red” awards banquet at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.The Clara Barton Awards are named for the founder of the American Red Cross, whose humanitarian spirit helped to shape volunteerism and philanthropy in America. The Red Cross of Ventura County began hosting the awards ceremony in 2003 in an effort to highlight the extraordinary accomplishments of local women.Wilhite, the only female SPFD Reserve, was nominated for the award by Supervisor Kathy Long - a past recipient of the Clara Barton Award - and Sup. Long’s Aide Martin Hernandez.Wilhite’s award is for a professional emergency responder from law enforcement, search and rescue, medicine, and professional or volunteer firefighter who has performed life saving tasks under extraordinary circumstances during the past three years according to the American Red Cross.
Wilhite has been with the SPFD for a year and has proven to be “Very dedicated to the department,” said Asst. Chief Kevin Fildes. “You can always count on her…she’s always striving to better herself, a real go-getter who will do well in the fire services,” when she reaches her goal to become a full-time firefighter.Wilhite also works for another fire department as a Reserve, is employed by an ambulance company and is attending school full-time noted Asst. Chief Fildes.A Fire Academy graduate, Wilhite has been a “great asset to our department, very eager studies and trains hard. When I was working as a captain with her she wanted to drive the engine and took to it quite well,” for a novice, added Asst. Chief Fildes.Like Wilhite, the work and lives of six other Ventura County women will be recognized for having a profound impact on the well being of their communities; recipients are selected by a panel of community leaders and event sponsors.Mary Leavens Schwabauer, an area native, is being honored as the Female Humanitarian of the Year for her philanthropy that has had a marked impact on the ability of Ventura County charities to better meet the needs of their communities. Schwabeuer’s charitable efforts have been sustained over time and have helped to set a standard for charitable support countywide.Other Clara Barton Award recipients are: Laura Hall, Female Lifesaver of the Year; Congresswoman Lois Capps as Female Public Servant of the Year; Young Woman of the Year Dallas Woodburn; Marijane Guest, the Female Military Member of the Year; and Female Diversity Ambassador the Year Mayor Pro Tem Maricela Morales.

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