Red Cross to Spotlight 3 Volunteers in Area

Three area residents will be honored by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Red Cross during the agency's 32nd annual Spotlight Awards presentation Saturday.

The local honorees are Rod Stratton of Sylmar, Virginia Rafelson of Canoga Park and Patricia MacNeil of Topanga.

The three are among 11 Los Angeles County residents selected for the organization's Spotlight awards this year for their extraordinary volunteer efforts.

Stratton, a "primary disaster responder," will receive the Spotlight Award for Disaster Service, said Red Cross spokesman Mike Powers.

In addition to providing aid at the scene of disasters, Stratton also teaches disaster preparedness, coordinates community drills and serves as a Red Cross liaison to several local organizations.

Rafelson, a former attache with the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, will receive the Spotlight Award for Cultural Diversity Outreach, officials said.

Rafelson founded the nonprofit organization, Basic Adult Spanish Education, 10 years ago and has been instrumental in recruiting and training a pool of Spanish-speaking volunteers who deliver health and safety courses to thousands of Los Angeles residents each year, Powers said.

Rafelson has taught first aid, CPR and child care, and has worked as a Red Cross translator, assisted in fund-raising and served as a board member for the agency.

Patricia MacNeil will receive the Good Neighbor Spotlight Award for helping to establish the Red Cross-affiliated Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness. As coalition chairwoman, MacNeil arranged for a core of local residents to be trained as Red Cross disaster volunteers who can provide services for their neighbors.

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