Valley citizens honored for extraordinary acts of courage

Law enforcement agencies highlighted people who have gone above and beyond in the last year.

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Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Stories of heroism, courage and downright determination were showcased at the 32nd Annual Citizen Award Ceremony Wednesday.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Stories of heroism, courage and downright determination were showcased at the 32nd Annual Citizen Award Ceremony Wednesday.

Law enforcement agencies from around Fresno and Madera counties highlighted people who have gone above and beyond in the last year.

People from Fresno, Clovis, Huron, Reedley and more were honored.

Fresno police chief Paco Balderrama recognized Cambridge High School students Gabriel Garcia, Thomas Stockstill and Isaac Vallejo.

In April of this year, they didn't hesitate to help when they saw a man running away with a baby and a woman running after him, screaming the man had just taken her child.

The three boys were able to rescue the baby and stop the suspect until officers arrived, but they say they don't feel like heroes.

"We just do that to do that because it's the right thing to do, you know?" said Garcia.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims awarded Salina Barbo and her effort to help detectives arrest the man responsible for killing her friend, 30-year-old Missy Hernandez.

Barbo forced her way into Missy's home when she didn't hear from her and called the sheriff's office to report her missing and likely in trouble.

"We just did everything we could think of to find her and alert people and have people looking for her," said Barbo.

RELATED: Where is Missy? Detectives, friends still searching for Fresno woman 1 month after she disappeared

Detectives were ultimately able to arrest Missy's boyfriend for murder and eventually found Missy's body in a canal near Huron.

"Without their actions, Missy may not have received justice, ever been found and would still be among the thousands of people who are reported missing across the country every year," said Sheriff Mims.

The California Highway Patrol honored Larry Faria, Eric Holmes, and Robert Windsor who, all driving separately, came across a fiery crash in July along Highway 99 near Fowler.

The three of them, all fathers, worked to rescue a young girl and her dad who were trapped inside their vehicle.

"I just kept thinking, if it was my kids, I would hope someone else would do the same, you know? My only thought was to get in there and do what I can," said Holmes.

They were able to get the little girl out, but the fire had spread and they weren't able to get to her dad.

The CHP thanked them for their selfless actions that spared the young girl's life.

And those were just a handful of awards given out. There were many other ordinary people who did extraordinary things.

Law enforcement agencies said they hope each of the recipients know they're appreciated for going above and beyond.