Meet the 2020 Real Heroes Honorees! 


Animal W

Animal Welfare Award: Chopper the Biker Dog | Presented by Falck

San Diego's beloved Chopper the Biker Dog and his owner have made it their mission to spread love and joy to those who need it most. Chopper uses his fiery passion for motorcycles, bandanas and killer kindness to spread love into the community. For many years, Chopper and his dad have traveled countless miles across San Diego County, bringing positivity, compassion and smiles to everyone they meet.

 SD City    law 2

Fire-Rescue Award: San Diego Fire-Rescue Department - Firefighters of Engine 22, C Division | Presented by: San Diego City Firefighters Local 145 and Law Enforcement Award: Officer Jonathan Wiese, San Diego Police Department | Presented by: CIT Bank

On June 13, 2020 members of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and the San Diego Police Department worked together to save the lives of a family involved in a tragic incident at Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach, San Diego. Responders with San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's Engine 22 and Police Officer Jonathan Wiese jumped into action to save two toddlers and their father, whose vehicle careened off the cliffs and into the water below.


Gift of Life Hero

Gift of Life Award: Jim Ehrlichmann | Presented by: Kaiser Permanente

Have you or someone you know received lifesaving blood products in the San Diego area? If so, it may have been delivered by James (Jim) Ehrlichmann. Jim has delivered over 10,000 units of blood products, accomplishing this incredible feat by volunteering hundreds of hours as an American Red Cross Blood Transportation Specialist. Himself a blood donor, Jim continues to volunteer each week, delivering the precious gift of life to local patients in need.


community partner

Community Partner Award: Julio Perez | Presented by U.S. Bank

When COVID-19 began to affect local business, and many struggled to make ends meet, Julio Perez took matters into his own hands to ensure his family was taken care of and that the jobs and livelihoods of many restaurant industry workers in San Diego were protected. Julio used his skills to benefit the community, and help local business during their time of need.


good samaritan hero

Good Samaritan Award: Chris Hamilton Family | Presented by Sycuan Casino Resort

On June 12, 2020, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Hamilton, his family and family friends were driving home to San Diego from a family vacation in Texas when the unimaginable occurred. Traveling late at night on a remote road in New Mexico, they came across a serious vehicle accident, and worked together to help rescue the victims, while maintaining safety and security until first responders arrived on the scene. 



Humanitarian Award: Dr. Ellen Beck  | Presented by: San Diego State University

For over 20 years, Dr. Ellen Beck has helped thousands of patients access comprehensive healthcare services across San Diego through her leadership at the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project. In partnership with the community, the mission of the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project is to provide respectful, empowering, high quality health care for the underserved while inspiring the next generation of health professionals.



Military Award: Perry Yee, Active Valor | Presented by: USS Midway Museum

Perry Yee is a former Navy SEAL and the founder of Active Valor, a combat veteran-run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in San Diego dedicated to giving new purpose to veterans by pairing them as mentors to children of our nation's fallen heroes. Perry's dedication to the military community and to our nation's Gold Star Children has made a lasting and life-changing impact on veterans and military families throughout San Diego.


youth good

Youth Good Samaritan Award: Nolan Mejia, Grocery Grab | Presented by: San Diego Gas & Electric

Nolan Mejia is the founder of Grocery Grab, a program that aims to help senior citizens and at-risk groups in need during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The Grocery Grab team, made up of high school students in the community, shops for and delivers groceries to the doorsteps of those in need. Grocery Grab is a free service, and any donations or "tips" are given back to the community through the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund.