Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi Named 'American Hero' by Emergency Services Coalition

January 29, 2010
Press Release

SACRAMENTO, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today was named an 'American Hero' by, the nation’s largest coalition of first responders, emergency management experts, businesses and insurers. is co-chaired by former FEMA director James Lee Witt.

"It is an honor to be among those selected as an ‘American Hero’ by the broad coalition of emergency responders and emergency management experts behind," Congressman John Garamendi said. "But our country’s real heroes are the men and women on the frontlines of natural disasters and other emergencies, risking life and limb to help people at their greatest vulnerability. Today, I salute you and want you to know that in Congress, I will continue fighting for the resources you need."

The American Hero Award is presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to preparing and protecting families and communities from the devastation of massive natural catastrophes. Congressman Garamendi received the award for his decades of work pushing for increased resources for emergency preparedness and disaster recovery efforts. Past award recipients have include Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour; David Jones, President of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association; and Massachusetts state Senator Robert O’Leary.

Other Californians receiving an 'American Hero' award today include: 

  • California Emergency Management Agency
  • Dr. Charles Reed, Chancellor, California State University System
  • Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor, 3rd District
  • Kim Zagaris, State Fire And Rescue Chief, California Emergency Management Agency
  • Paul and Natalie Orfalea, Orfalea Fund and Orfalea Family Foundation
  • Assemblyman Pedro Nava, District 35 – Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

"The devastation in Haiti is a stark reminder that earthquakes can happen at any time; that their devastation is as widespread as it is deep to the core and that the steps we make today could mean the ultimate difference when the next earthquake or natural disaster hits our nation," said James Lee Witt, former FEMA director and co-chair of

"Our coalition works on many levels to instill solutions to our existing vulnerability as a nation. Today, though, we are here to recognize the Protecting America – American Heroes, not for what we hope will be done, but for what has already been accomplished – and for the goals that these individuals work tirelessly toward every day," Witt added.