NEWS Honors 40 for 40
The annual NEWS Peace Awards have gone virtual this year... with the number of honorees we are celebrating matching the number of years NEWS is celebrating for our 40th anniversary! The NEWS Peace Awards acknowledge the strength and worth of exceptional people guiding our community in Napa County who change the lives of families and youth for the better.
The NEWS Peace Awards are sponsored by a generous donation from The Doctors Company.
An integral part of NEWS' mission is to work toward changing the aspects of our culture that perpetuate domestic and sexual violence. Therefore, NEWS honors those who present positive role models for our children, youth and community by publicly recognizing their outstanding contribution. By acknowledging their accomplishments in teaching respect, non-violence and positive family values, we hope to inspire our community to do more to prevent the epidemic of family violence.
Awards are given to these community members in several categories:
Doug Ernst was the first male NEWS board member and served on the board for 23 years until his passing in 2018. Doug attended every NEWS event that he could and was a dedicated advocate for our survivors and the rights of women, as well as supporting men to be peaceful.
Michael Loghran was a dedicated law enforcement official who served as Napa County Undersheriff for many years. Mike served on the NEWS Board of Directors and recognized the importance of respectful collaboration between NEWS and our law enforcement partners. He was a gentle giant and is greatly missed.
Bill Hernandez is the Napa Police Department Domestic Violence Detective and has worked closely with NEWS for many years to make sure that every victim of domestic violence gets the services they need for themselves and especially for their children. Bill has been key to bringing the Monarch Justice Center to Napa.
Hope Lugo was a founding member of the NEWS Community Advisory Committee back in 1981 when NEWS was formed. To this day Hope is a supporter for NEWS and we are proud to have Hope’s daughter, Helen, as the program manager of our Housing and Sustainability program.
Sandra Re Sims NEWS Board President and past recipient of Congressman Mike Thompson’s Napa County Person of the Year Award also serves on the board of directors of Aldea and previously on the Leadership Napa Valley board. Sandy has put her heart and soul into ensuring that NEWS has sound oversight, and that the staff is recognized for their hard work.
Connie Battisti – Connie Battisti stepped off of the NEWS Board to become its Interim Director, at a time when NEWS was in jeopardy of losing its main funding source. Her obligation went from three weeks, to three months, to three years. In that time she rebuilt the board, solidified funding, and built partnerships in the community that are lasting today.
Gail O’Kelley – Gail O’Kelley helped to write the first grant and obtain the first shelter for NEWS. She was a driving force in ensuring that survivors of domestic violence had a safe place to go when they had been victimized. Gail had a 30+ year career in the field of victim advocacy, and the ground work she laid was the founding of many of the victim service organization that exist in Napa County today.
Sally Burhnam – Sally generously supported NEWS over many years until her recent passing. She was motivated by the death of her friend and coworker, Rosa, who was murdered by her husband. Sally was an advocate for the LGBTQ+ Community and a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church.
YOUTH & YOUTH ADVOCATES
Roxana Plancarte, MSW School Social Worker NVUSD Wellness Program
Vanessa Rubio, Napa County Office of Education Mariposa Program Manager
Danielle Swafford, MSW NVUSD School Social Worker & Foster Youth Liaison
Heidi Brown, Therapeutic Children Center Public Health
Alexis Barragan, Student Advocate for Youth Empowerment
Natalia Cabello-Mendoza, Student/Mariposa Girls
Jesus Martinez, Napa Police Department
Melissa Brown, St. Helena Police Dept.
Samantha Arlen, Calistoga Police Department
Cecil Brown, Napa Sheriff Department
Jason Barrera, Napa Police Department
Brandt Keown, Detective Napa Police Dept.
Sharon Fong, Napa DA Investigator
Brandon Gardner, Napa Police Department, Homeless Outreach
Oscar Ortiz, Interim Sheriff
Amanda Greene, Police Officer, Calistoga PD
Blanca Huijon, Executive Director Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center
Bertha Saldivar Feliz, Office Assistant Mental Health Access, Ole Health
Denise Layton, Marriage and Family Therapist
Darice Dekker, Marriage and Family Therapist
Beverly Foo Colon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Nancy Bocanegra, Licensed Clinical Social Work
Sharon DeMarco, Napa Courage Center
Liza Loofbourrow, Marriage and Family Therapist
Jeanna Coursey, NEWS Volunteer
Maricela Pelayo, Abode Services
Tom Webber, Rotary Club
Sabrina Daniels, City of Napa, Housing Authority
Fay Hartje, Victim Advocate, Napa County District Attorney’s Office
Stephanie Duff-Ericksen, Soroptimist International of Calistoga
Betty Figueiras-Davidson – Mental Health Advocate
Amanda Jones, Napa County Mental Health