Sacramento Monarchs

Left to right: Lori Aloisio, Molly Ximenez, Momo S. Larmena, Jr., Melissa Hirt, Darlene Dusseau, and Jamie Laffey, Toyota Motor Sales

Hero #1 - Tisha Smith

On March 25th of this year, Police Officer Tisha Smith was on duty when Aaron Norman Dunn began a deadly shooting rampage through the streets of Elk Grove, that left two innocent people dead and several others injured.

Dunn started his killing spree by shooting Michael Daly as he left a local restaurant with his wife and 2 children. Sadly Daly succumbed to his injuries days later.

Minutes later Dunn crashed his car. He set out on foot and he killed John Johnson in front of his wife, as they too left another restaurant nearby.

Dunn targeted Police Officer Tisha Smith and her partner as they drove down a busy Elk Grove street. Dunn's shotgun blast went through the rear window of the police cruiser inches behind her partner's head. Smith drove out of the ambush, surely saving both of their lives. She repositioned their cruiser and returned to the scene. Believing her partner had been hit, Smith yelled for her to draw her gun and get down in the car. Smith went after Dunn on foot. Dunn was now shooting at bystanders caught in the rampage.

Smith shielded a man who was holding a small child, and engaged the suspect in a gun battle. The suspect was shot several times by both officers and captured. By eye witness accounts, Smith's actions saved countless lives. She truly risked her own life to save others. She continues to inspire and serve our community as a Police Officer, as she has done for 6 years. In remembering her acts of courage and selflessness, we grieve for the victims and their loved ones.

Officer Smith is a hero in our community, in the truest sense of the word.

Nominated by: Jody Tennis

Hero #2 - Molly Ximenez

As a cancer survivor herself, Molly was, recently, inspired to create a new (Sacramento-based) non-profit organization, called the "Cup of Love," that has already touched the lives of cancer survivors world-wide through simple, random acts of kindness. In a nutshell, cups (of all shapes & sizes, age & background) are donated and the "Cup of Love" organization packages them with nice paper, a kind note, and other small tokens (a scarf, candy, etc.), then distributes them to (esp. newly diagnosed) cancer patients. Cancer survivors feel loved, empowered and much less alone in their survival journeys. The world ends up a better place because of Molly and the Cup of Love organization's tireless, humble efforts. For these reasons, I nominate Molly Ximenez for the "National/Local Hero" award. Your consideration is much appreciated.

Nominated by: Dianne Czarnecki

Molly Ximenez Elk Grove, CA

Hero #3 - Lori Aloisio

I am a case manager for people that live with HIV disease many are homeless, some have no family, and almost all face some type of discrimination. Lori is a hospice nurse that helps people, at the end stage of their life, die with dignity & respect. To many of us that work in the field of HIV disease, Lori is a hero. She reminds us all that no matter what people look like or what mistakes they have made in their lives, we are all human beings that deserve to be treated equally. In a world that revolves around "how people look" Lori reminds us that it's what's on the inside that counts, and that we can all make a difference in someone else's life one person at a time. She inspires me to put my own judgments aside and be the best me that I can be. Hopefully at the end of our lives we can all have someone like Lori to care for us.

Nominated by: Lynell Clancy

Lori Alosio - Sacramento, CA

Hero #4 - Darlene Dusseau

Darlene lost the sight in her left eye at age 11, being 5'9" she loved playing Basketball. At age 35 she lost the sight in her right eye. Being completely blind with 2 young girls would have caused most people to get depressed; her attitude was "let's learn how to live".

She began volunteering to speak to school kids about "being different" just as each of them are different. She is the heart of that organization, A TOUCH OF UNDERSTANDING, and is on the Board of Directors.

Darlene got a job and now teaches low vision and blind clients how to choose a career, and how to get the job skills they need to secure that career. Seeing the need for a Career Development Program, she started one, with no experience, for THE SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND in Sacramento. Educating Clients and Employers about talking software and other adaptive technology.

Darlene then started her own business, BLIND AMBITION, and she speaks to Employers and Gov't agencies about their prejudices and how to overcome them by example. Her etiquette training is partly a comedy routine and partly teaching the value of looking for the assets and the good in everyone!

The number of people that she has assisted to believe in themselves, follow their own dreams and live with purpose numbers in the hundreds. Many have gotten off of Social Security and are fully self supporting with luxuries like Cable TV to watch the WNBA on ESPN2, money to care for their children and most importantly self esteem.

Darlene is a modest woman that simply feels as if she is following her path, but while doing that she has illuminated a path that has made life for others beyond their wildest dreams.

Because of Darlene's influence I find little to complain about, and the normal trials of life are easily kept in perspective. I began to volunteer on a more regular basis. I also have come to find that I am quite the live broadcast commentator for both WNBA and NBA games. I see more when I am with her as I often describe our surroundings, things that I would not have even noticed if I had not had her influence.

She attends Monarchs games, often, with her guide dog Callahan, and listens to 1140AM.

She is a joy to be around and an example for anyone to follow.

I respectfully submit this nomination and hope you get a chance to meet her, as your life will be inspired as well. I keep telling her to write her biography and sell the movie rights, the WNBA could be mentioned in both.

One of Darlene's Many FANS, Melissa Hirt

Nominated by: Melissa Hirt

Darelene Dusseau - Rocklin, CA

Hero #5 - Momo S. Larmena, Jr.

Momo came to the United States in 2004 as a refugee. He was a refugee in Ghana for 8 years (after his father (a medical professional) was killed in 1990 by rebels during the Liberia civil war). His Mother and siblings were resettled to the United States in 1998, but he returned to Liberia to help in the reconstruction of post-war Liberia in 1999. He served as Secretary General of the Liberian Red Cross and Senior Program Assistant/Consultant with the United Nations Development Program in Liberia. In March 2004, he was attacked in Liberia by the same rebels that killed his father. With the assistance of the United Nations he was able to come to the United States. In March 2006 his 2 sons (Kwasi and Jusu) joined him.

Since his arrival in the United States, he is actively working in his community (Northgate, El Camino, Del Paso) to make positive changes in the lives of children in these low income areas. He runs a Foster home (supported by Triad Family Agency), working with teen age children in Sacramento. He has also organized a nonprofit organization, Assistance For All (AFAL) that is running a successful After-School and Computer Training Program, for children ages 5 and above. This after-school program is supported by the Sacramento Mutual Housing Association and is the only free to the public After-School program here in Sacramento.

We have no doubt that Momo will be selected as a HERO because the benefits of quality after-school programs are clear. They support working families by ensuring that children are safe and productive when the school day ends. He is making our communities stronger by involving students, parents, business leaders and volunteers; most importantly he is providing children the opportunity to discover hidden talents as they grow academically and socially.

Momo S. Larmena, Jr - Sacramento, CA