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Send Your Heroes

Say “Thank You” to a hero who’s served on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19!

The Send Your Heroes Lost Sierra campaign wants you to tell a California Hero’s story. Your Hero may work in healthcare, be a first responder, caregiver, teacher, essential-service provider or anyone who has gone above and beyond during the COVID-19 crisis.

Nominate your hero from anywhere in California. Nominees and their families will then be selected to experience the Lost Sierra, hosted by Nakoma Resort and other businesses for complimentary lodging, horseback excursions, guided fishing, dining, outdoor gear rentals and more.



Write at least 100 words about your Hero and what he or she did for you or your community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Email your nominee submission to or mail to:
Send Your Heroes ℅ Nakoma Resort POB 525 Clio, CA 96106 or via the Facebook group page Send Your Heroes

Required information:
• Nominator’s Name
• Nominator’s address
• Nominator’s email address
• Nominator’s phone number 

• Nominee’s name
• Nominee’s job title
• Nominee’s town of residence
• Nominee’s email address
• Nominee’s phone number




California Nominees

Jessica Meyer is the kind of nurse everyone hopes they have when they end up in the hospital. She shows people deep compassion while providing excellent care. Despite having underlying respiratory conditions herself, Jessica voluntarily worked on Covid-19 units, putting her own health at risk for those who needed her most. When staffing was short, she worked extra shifts. Jessica is the type of coworker that makes hard days easier and brightens up any unit. Please consider her for your weekend getaway. She truly is a hero and deserves a relaxing weekend after months of hard work!

Nominator: Jennifer Lingley
Dr. Michael Le is an internal medicine physician in the Bay Area. He is a frontline healthcare worker screening and triaging COVID-19 patients. He has been working more than 40 hours a week and volunteers on weekends to provide additional support. He is currently unable to see his family and loved ones due to the risk of potentially passing on COVID-19, so he is isolated from everyone. It has been challenging for him to come home after a long day of work and putting his life at risk and not being able to see his loved ones. However, he loves that he is making a difference and this is what he went into medicine for. He volunteered to cover the hospital if a surge happens. As an internal medicine physician during this pandemic, he has firsthand witnessed the practice of medicine changing. Being in the Bay Area, it was one of the areas to first have COVID-19 cases, therefore many patients had to be seen and get screened. It was challenging in the beginning with the short supply of PPE, having to wash, share, and reuse certain supplies. He deserves this more than anyone I know. He is extremely caring, relentless, humble, and so hardworking, he puts 100% effort into everything he does and cares for his patients like they are his own family. This would put a great smile on his face and give him the chance to relax with loved ones after months of working so hard.

Nominator: Latonia Luu

I want to nominate my daughter, Kathleen, and her husband, Dan, for your Send Your Heroes campaign. They both love the Lost Sierra so much. Kathleen and her husband have both been working nonstop on the front lines through this pandemic. Kathleen works two jobs in the Bay Area, both as an emergency room RN and her husband is a sheriff/police officer for Alameda County. They rarely get a day off but neither of them ever complain. They have also been doing the grocery shopping for myself and the rest of our family who are too worried to go out ourselves. I can’t think of anyone who deserves a thank you more than them. In 2019, Kathleen and Dan got engaged and married in Graeagle. They also took their engagement pictures at Nakoma. They would love and be so appreciative of a trip to this area!

Nominator: Katie Nejedly

If you look up the definition of “teacher” in the dictionary, you’ll see words and phrases such as “one who imparts knowledge” and “instructor.” For the 26 kids in Mrs. Debbie Gawle’s combo class of 1st and 2nd graders at Bird Rock Elementary in the 2019-2020 school year, she was all that but so much more. She certainly had her work cut out for her: to teach a group of 7 and 8 year olds from two different grades can be challenging enough. Add in a pandemic, school closure halfway through the year, and new technology that no one could have ever anticipated having to use, let alone being trained on after 20+ years in a traditional classroom setting. But Mrs. Gawle tackled the challenge with her usual good sense of humor, enthusiasm, and nonstop energy. It was extraordinary to be a part of this. The children and families of Room 7 felt so fortunate to have been in her class, as we looked to her for guidance, fun, and expertise as the most phenomenal teacher around. What follows are just a few of the comments from the students’ parents:

“What makes Mrs. Gawle a phenomenal teacher is the 1:1 time that she gives each child. Sometimes that time is 30 minutes before school on a Monday morning, after school or even during recess time. Mrs Gawle continued 1:1 time with students during their time on Zoom to help students with writing and math. Her devotion and endless creative energy to her students shows in their love for education.”

“I have some adjectives that describe her: dedicated, reliable, energetic, compassionate, cheerful, embracing, tolerant, amazing, awesome, engaging.”
“Mrs. Gawle quickly transitioned her amazing in-person teaching skills into enthusiastic and educational Zoom meetings every day. With two children of her own at home, Mrs. Gawle deftly navigated her roles as both educator and mom. I realized how wholeheartedly she loves her students, what a passion she has for learning, and her strong commitment to engaging and teaching 1st and 2nd graders. Her hands-on teaching techniques and one-on-one meetings kept my child fully focused for the three months after the school’s closure. We couldn’t have been luckier and more grateful to have had her.”

“Mrs. Gawle was a superhero teacher during quarantine to our son Sawyer, who was in second grade. With very little technology experience, she transitioned to distance learning via Zoom seamlessly. While other teachers were teaching 2 hours per week, she was teaching for 7 hours every weekday to ensure none of her students 'fell through the cracks.' She fostered a sense of community amongst the children who were all isolated at home by encouraging them to share and support each other. The academic projects she created kept the kids engaged while learning. She also offered 'movement' breaks, such as jumping jacks, push-ups, windmills, and burpees, to stimulate her students. This was especially helpful for our high energy son. She poured her heart and soul into teaching her kids in the midst of a most challenging time and for this, she is our hero!”

Nominator: Room 7 1st & 2nd graders and their families, Bird Rock Elementary

I would like to nominate California Highway Patrol (CHP) Sergeant John D. French, ID 14456, for the “Send Your Heroes” campaign. John has had a long distinguished career with the CHP. During the COVID-19 pandemic, John has tirelessly worked long hours to keep the citizens of California safe without fear of contracting the deadly virus. In addition, he was deployed to the California State Capital to protect the structure and surrounding areas from angry protestors over the tragic death of George Floyd. As protestors directed their anger at law enforcement officers, John remained professional, compassionate and courageous despite the inherent dangers of contracting the virus and the violence exhibited by some of the protestors.

But the story doesn't end there. While John is hard at work providing safety, service and security for the public, his wife Stacey, a registered nurse at a local hospital, also worked long hours caring for COVID-19 patients. Without fear, she exposed herself to potentially contracting the virus as she compassionately and skillfully treated these extremely ill patients.

In closing, John and Stacey are the epitome of heroes during these difficult times. They are extremely deserving of a little rest and relaxation vacation at my favorite hidden gem, Nakoma Resort. Thank you for your consideration and the “Send Your Heroes” campaign. What a great way to say thank you to the hard working men and women that ensured our safety during this pandemic.

Nominator: G.P. "Buster" Crabb

Local Hero Nominees

I would like to nominate Lorrie Bennett for this wonderful contest you are holding. She has been sewing face masks endlessly for the last month or so. She does not want money for them. She has been giving them away for FREE to whoever is in need of them. I am sure she has cut fabric and sewed well over 150 masks thus far and continues to do so! She is also an essential employee for Plumas County. Please consider Lorrie for this, she is well deserving of it! Thank you!

Nominator: Kimberly Carroll 

I am nominating Michelle Romero the Infection Prevention Nurse at Eastern Plumas Healthcare who brought together the staff at EPHC to keep our most vulnerable residents at the skilled nursing facility, the staff and our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on she instituted policies to monitor staff health when they came to work. She worked with the Directors of Nursing for the Hospital, Skilled Nursing and ER manager to create a process to isolate patients who had respiratory symptoms. Currently we have not had one case of COVID-19 in either of our Skilled Nursing Facilities due to this collaboration. She was in constant contact with public health officials from Plumas County and the CDC. She endured late night calls and weekend emails that demanded her attention. She juggled a family with young children and her more than full time position at the hospital with a smile. She was always available for hospital staff who had a question about the new policies or who had suggestions. We are all very grateful for her leadership.

Nominator: Kathleen Smith

My dad, Steven Dutton, is a high school teacher going above and beyond during this time. He works long hours, often into the evening, and is in meetings often. He has driven by students’ homes to deliver anything they may need to continue their education during this time. He has arranged for a virtual version of his annual Vietnam Veterans and student meetings, because their stories need to be shared with his students no matter where they are. He meets virtually with students to provide extra help, and with other educational leaders to help plan for the rest of the year, next school year, and this upcoming graduation. He works very hard every day to ensure that students have the opportunity to the education they deserve. I would like to nominate him because he too deserves a vacation for all his hard and thoughtful work for the youth of this community.

Nominator: Sophia Dutton

Everyone at the Loyalton Post Office has done an exceptional job during the last few months. They consistently go above and beyond for our community. For example, they decorated the post office for all of the 2020 graduates! As you can imagine they are receiving a lot more packages than normal since a lot of people are shopping online. Despite the influx of packages, the mail is still sorted and in our boxes by 1:00pm. That is stellar! We often do not think about how changes in our behavior impact the standard services we receive. Given how many packages I have been receiving, I am certain that they are beyond overwhelmed.

I would specifically like to recognize Jennifer Hollis, a Clerk at the Post Office. The reason I point Jennifer out is that no matter how her day is going, how many packages she has to sort or what type of customer she is dealing with, she is consistently positive and helpful. It is always a delight to see her smile when I go in with a yellow slip to retrieve a package. She brings joy to my day through her positivity and pleasant demeanor.

A few weeks ago, I received an awkward sized package that weighed about 60 pounds. I would have had a hard time getting it into my car on my own. Jennifer to the rescue... She assisted me with lifting the package and together we were able to get it into my car without either of us getting hurt. What amazing customer service! I am not sure I would have received that service at any old post office. Thank you Jennifer for being so pleasant and amazing and for brightening peoples' days!

Nominator: Joanna Garneau

I would like to nominate Downieville School teacher and Sierra Schools Foundation member, Niecea Freeman, as a local hero during this international health emergency. During the COVID-19 crisis there have been many individuals deserving recognition who have stepped up to help their community, but I would like to focus on one person in our community who has truly gone above and beyond in her service. She has stood up and pushed through the challenges of our current world to both deliver high quality education to her students and support other teachers in the community.

Niecea has endeavored to deliver meaningful, worthwhile education to her students by completely innovating her teaching style with both online and paper distance learning accommodations. She has daily group and individual meetings with her students over Zoom giving them assignments that are both educational and enriching, and continues to create a community of learning and social emotional growth support in an uncertain climate. For instance, the school had scheduled an event called International Day, which had to be canceled due to the outbreak. Not one to lie down during a challenging time, Niecea hosted an online International Day where students presented research about a foreign country and prepared a cultural dish from the same country to share with all community members and stakeholders—bringing people together and inspiring others to learn, even during social distancing.

Every week at Downieville School, Niecea creates paper packets to deliver to students with restricted access to technology and diverse needs for delivery each Monday as the buses and family receive their meal service. One week in particular, Niecea, in response to a local mask shortage, continued to think of her students by delivering masks to each of them with their weekly educational packets (hand sewn by her grandmother). She has also worked with other school and community stakeholders to raise money for the graduating class of 2020, preparing them for an uncertain fall semester away from home at college or in the military during COVID-19. 

However, Niecea has not just helped her own students, but she has risen to the occasion through her work with the Sierra Schools Foundation, a local nonprofit that supports teachers and students in Sierra County, which has delivered emergency learning supplies to all students in the county: notebooks, pencils, art supplies, etc. And provides daily and weekly curriculum and learning resources through the Foundation’s social media network to support parents and families who need guidance with the new “home schooling” learning model.

This crisis has created new problems for all of us but with every problem, Niecea has found a creative solution that benefits her students and the community. That is why I would like to nominate her as our local hero.Thank you for your consideration and this opportunity to uplift our local heroes.

Nominator: Patrick Wilson