Stunt Man Given Award for Rescue of Driver Trapped Underwater in Car

Stunt man James H. Bernard, 26, who became a real-life hero by saving a man stuck in his car in 10 feet of water off Newport Beach, has been given the Villa Nova Outstanding Citizen Award.

Bernard, of Newport Beach, who works on the “Hunter” television program, saw a car lurch down a hill, flip over and land nose first in the water. Bernard dived into the murky water, forced the door open and rescued 77-year-old William Stancil and gave CPR to start him breathing again.

“Opening the car door was quite difficult,” Bernard said. “I guess it was a surge of adrenaline that finally gave me the strength to force it open.”

Jim Dale of Villa Nova (the Newport Beach restaurant that gives the monthly award) said, “Bernard is a hero in the true meaning of the word.” It earned Bernard a plaque and dinner for two.


Connie Pedersen, the first nurse hired 27 years ago to work in the emergency room of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, was the center of attention at a breakfast reception in her honor after she announced her retirement.

Pedersen, of Garden Grove, worked the night and evening shift during her tenure in the hospital’s emergency room, which is regarded as among the busiest in Orange County, treating 40,000 patients a year.

Mitchell Elementary School in Garden Grove and Jonas Salk School in Anaheim shared second place in competition among 41 elementary school video program finalists. The two schools were honored at the ninth annual Golden Bell Awards sponsored by the California School Boards Assn.

There were 400 entries, and the overall winner was the Davis Joint School District in Davis. The winners were selected after evaluations of contest entry applications and on-site observations.


One reason for the success of the 1987 Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa was its promotional work, and that effort was recognized by the International Assn. of Fairs and Expositions. It presented a first-place award to the fair’s media and public relations department for its outdoor promotional advertising, informational printed promotional material and radio ads.

In what is considered the toughest judging category, the Western Sun, Golden West College’s weekly student newspaper, won top honors in the recent Journalism Assn. of Community Colleges Southern Conference.

The paper won first place for general excellence in the category of large schools with standard-size newspapers. The paper also won best front page layout by student Natalie Lehm. Staff member Josh Kramer won first place for best feature story.

Paying tribute to their individual achievements, the Newport Beach-Costa Mesa Service Club inducted Kenneth Fowler and Jack Bogner, of Costa Mesa; W. Richard Smith, of Corona del Mar, and Vincent Jorgensen, Paul Ryckoff and Henry Swenerton, of Newport Beach, into its Hall of Fame. It was the fourth year the honor has been given to service club members from the Kiwanis, Exchange, Boys and Rotary clubs.


Garvin F. Shallenberger, of South Laguna, was named the first Orange County recipient of the Learned Hand Human Relations Award for his leadership and service. The award, named for the great jurist and legal scholar who died in 1961, is given by the Orange County chapter of the American Jewish Committee, a human relations agency.

Elgitz J. Baldonado, 12, of Cypress, daughter of immigrant Filipino parents, won a $1,500 cash award as first runner-up in the Miss Pre-Teen Hostess competition in Tampa. The event stressed patriotism and family unity as well as poise, personality and appearance. Earlier, she was named Miss California Pre-Teen Hostess. She is a student at St. Irenaeus Parochial School in Cypress.