Sunday, June 17 , 2018, 4:16 pm | Mostly Cloudy 67º


Ventura County Female First Responders Named Women of Year

In recognition of their bravery during the devastating Thomas Fire, State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblymember Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, have honored women first responders from Ventura County as 2018 Women of the Year.

“These women courageously stepped up during our community’s time of need,” said Jackson. “We are fortunate to have such brilliant, talented and brave women and men serving Ventura County.”

“We are so grateful for the courage and service of our women first responders during the chaos and confusion of recent natural disasters. The expertise and dedication they provided was critical to promoting accessible emergency communications and community safety,” said Limón.The Ventura County honorees are:

» Lourdes Campbell, interpreter with Campbell Lourdes Interpreting: Campbell is a translator and interpreter. Those services include relay translation for sign language as well as for indigenous languages.

She interprets the simulcast broadcast of every City Council meeting for the city of Oxnard and as needed for the cities of Ventura, Ojai, Moorpark, Fillmore and Santa Paula.

» Kimberly Coley, executive director of the Red Cross, Pacific Coast and Ventura County Chapters. Coley leads a team of humanitarians who serve the

» Genevieve Flores-Haro, associate director for the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project, a nonprofit serving Ventura County’s indigenous immigrant community. When the Thomas Fire broke out, Flores-Haro was a leader in making sure Spanish-speaking residents were receiving and had access to the most updated information in their language.

» Nicky Gore-Jones, executive director of the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center. She joined the SPARC Board of Directors in 2014 and became its executive director in 2015.

Gore-Jones led her team in preparing for the evacuation of the shelter’s animals the night the Thomas Fire began and the days following to find them appropriate boarding options. Her team continues to work to find homes for their animals as well as make way for any animals displaced by the fire.
» Jolene Hoffman, Ventura County Humane Society Shelter director: Hoffman came to the Humane Society as a volunteer when the shelter opened in 1982 and worked her way up to becoming the director in 1985.

Within 24 hours of the start of the Thomas Fire, Hoffman and her team worked tirelessly to shelter the animals of county residents that were under evacuation orders.

» Junelyn Segui, program administrator with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (VCOES): Segui serves as an emergency manager for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services. She manages emergency planning, response and recovery programs.

During the Thomas Fire, Segui was instrumental in successfully leading the Ventura County Emergency Operations Center Finance Section. She also manages the Thomas Fire public assistance program which is crucial for Ventura County’s recovery.  

» Kelly Turner, certified sign language interpreter: Turner is a life-long interpreter and educator. Her assistance in the Thomas Fire was crucial in making sure that those who are hearing-impaired got the updates they needed for dealing with the tragedy.

» Amariz Loza Vorzimer, deputy sheriff. Vorzimer has been a deputy sheriff the last six years. She is assigned to patrol services in the city of Moorpark. As part of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, she assisted with the evacuation of residents from their homes and directing them to safety.

Vorzimer was among the first to assist as the fire quickly spread throughout the county prompting rapid action and response to make the community aware of the imminent danger. Because of her work and that of her team, residents were safely evacuated and out of harm’s way when the fire spread.
» 146th Airlift Wing Channel Islands Air National Guard: The 146th Airlift Wing is an Air National Guard base in Port Hueneme. During the Thomas Fire, the 146th Airlift Wing was activated on Dec. 5 to fight what became the largest fire in California history.

This courageous team included female first responders ranging from pilots to support staff and communications. Their role was critical as their Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System was sent to drop fire suppression chemicals to slow the fire's advance in support of firefighters on the ground.

» City of Ventura: Women from various departments of the city of Ventura played an essential role in securing services and resources for Ventura County residents during the Thomas Fire and Jan. 9 debris flow.

They were key in gathering federal, state, county and local agencies and service providers to assist the community in recovering from the devastating effects of the disasters.

Immediately before the fire was almost fully contained, they began a fire recovery process which included financial assistance, medical services, and holding community meetings to keep the general public informed and updated with any developments.

— Marly Young for State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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