“These heroes do tremendous work, often 365 days a year, and they often don’t get the recognition they deserve,” said Susan Day, president of Combined Health, a federation of San Diego charities. “We just love to be able to celebrate the great work they do.”
The charities each nominated a hero who made a difference in a very specific way, whether it was changing the laws so minors can no longer use tanning beds and risk skin cancer or providing understanding dental services tailored to autistic children unwilling to be touched.
*Profil Institute for Clinical Research, chosen by the American Diabetes Association. the Chula Vista institute researches diabetes and obesity and has helped the association with education programs for Latinos.
*Paul Manasjan, chosen by the American Lung Association in California. Manasjan is environmental affairs director for the San Diego Regional Airport Authority and chaired the association’s Fight for Air Climb stair-climbing fundraiser, bringing in $56,000.
*Dr. William Mobley, chosen by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Assocation. Mobley is chair of the UC San Diego’s Department of Neurosciences and has brought outstanding physicians to the Center for ALS Research and Therapy to work with patients.
*Dr. Howard Taras, chosen by the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County. A UC San Diego pediatrician, Taras was instrumental in a campaign persuading the Legislature to pass a law so children with epilepsy can get seizure medication at school.
*Dr. Salvatore Pacella, chosen by Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. Pacella, head of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Scripps Clinic, works extensively with Fresh Start to provide free surgeries and treatment plans for needy children with physical deformities.