Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Board Recognition of our Community Heroes

Santa Clara County Behavioral Health System logo

For Immediate Release
May 30, 2018


Santa Clara County, CA. Congratulations to the recipients of the 2018 Behavioral Health Board Community Heroes Awards. These awards recognize community members who have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with behavioral health challenges. 

A woman gazing towards the view in front of her

“Every year we recognize those individuals and organizations in our county who have demonstrated exemplary service to county residents suffering the effects of mental illness,” said Gary Miles, Chair of the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Board. “Our heroes have performed tirelessly in their efforts to improve the lives of those they serve. Our heroes are community members, professional service providers, law enforcement officers and agencies, as well as those in the faith-based community.”

The ceremony opened with an invocation by Reverend Evelyn Vigil and the guests participating in the pledge of allegiance. The keynote speaker was Michael Fitzgerald, the executive director of Mental Health and Addiction Services at El Camino Hospital who spoke about his personal journey with mental health challenges and his recovery. Fitzgerald has led mental health and addiction services at El Camino Hospital for the past 15 years.

In attendance with Toni Tullys, Director of the Behavioral Health Services Department, René G. Santiago, County of Santa Clara Deputy County Executive, and Supervisor Joe Simitian were Santa Clara County 2018 Behavioral Health Board members:  Dr. Gary Miles, Chair; Dr. Joel Wolfberg, 1st Vice Chair; Charles Pontious, 2nd Vice Chair; Betty Duong, Supervisor Cindy Chavez Representative; Larry Blitz; Mary E. Crocker Cook ; J. Patrick Fitzgerald; Teresa Gallo ; Robert Gill; Marsali Hancock; Thomas Jurgensen; June R. Klein; Wesley Mukoyama; Victor Ojakian; and Evelyn Vigil. Members not in attendance were Charles Pontious, 2nd Vice Chair; Larry Blitz; and Marsali Hancock.

The event took place May 2, 2018, at the San Jose Masonic Temple. Below are the individuals and organizations that were recognized.

  • Agency Community Hero, ACT for Mental Health, Wanda Alexander
  • Consumer Community Hero, Stephani Rideau
  • Educator Community Hero, Joyce P. Chu, Ph.D.
  • Elected Official Community Hero, California Senator Jim Beall 
  • Elected Official Community Hero, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Joe Simitian
  • Faith-Based Community Hero, Pastor Tony Williams
  • Family Member Community Hero, Gini Mitchem
  • Mover and Shaker Community Heroes, Philippe Rey, Psy.D. Young Mover and Shaker 
  • Community Heroes, Nadia Ghaffari
  • Program Community Heroes, Alum Rock Counseling Center Prevention Early 
  • Intervention Program
  • Volunteer Community Hero, Jason Noriega 
  • Volunteer Community Hero, Celestine (Cella) Thomas


2018 Crisis Intervention Team Officers of the Year

CIT training seeks to bridge this gap between police response and behavioral health care by forming a partnership with health providers, law enforcement, hospital emergency departments, consumers and their families to improve responses to people in crisis. They utilize scenario-based practice on responding to crises using interactive video simulation. CIT training has been proven to reduce officer injury, reduce arrests to consumers with behavioral health challenges, increase the likelihood of treatment with community based providers, and to save money on jail diversion programs.

  • Officer Nathan N. Brasil, Milpitas Police Department 
  • Officer Joe Campagna, San Jose Police Department 
  • Officer Theodore Davis, San Jose Police Department 
  • Officer Brent Doiguchi, California Highway Patrol 
  • Sergeant Troy Hoefling, Morgan Hill Police Department 
  • Officer Maggie Leitz, City of Campbell Police Department 
  • Officer Jeremy Martinez, San Jose Police Department
  • Officer Samuel Miceli, Santa Clara Police Department 
  • Agent Robert Parham, City of Palo Alto Police Department 
  • Officer Michael Rubino, California Highway Patrol
  • Public Safety Officer Anthony Sult, Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety




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