Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Salutes Health Care Workers, Firefighters, Educators & Police

By Christina Campodonico

Fires, riots, plague and the trials and tribulations of online learning have made 2020 an especially difficult year. It’s times like these when we wonder what we’d do without firefighters, doctors, teachers and police. Fortunately, these public servants and first responders have gone above and beyond to keep our communities safe, protected and educated this year.

To show the community’s gratitude, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce is not only honoring educators, police and firefighters at their annual New Heroes Celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 28, but also health care workers this year.

“They are really on the frontlines of this battle we call COVID-19,” says Laurel Rosen, President of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, “especially the ones who are working on the ICU wards in the COVID unit. They’re clear that they’re walking into a room with someone that’s sick. And they do it anyway. They’re very brave.”

This year’s honorees include health care heroes from all four of the community’s major hospital networks, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Network in Santa Monica, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Saint John’s Health Center and William Dunne, Administrative Director of Security, Safety and Emergency Preparedness at UCLA Health.

“We are very fortunate to have some of the most stellar health care in the world. And then when you have four major hospitals that are supporting your community, we’re very lucky,” says Rosen. “All of them are doing their part… every single one of them are doing their part to battle COVID-19. And it’s important to recognize all of them, they’re part of our community. They’re part of our chamber.”

A group of Santa Monica College leaders; Samohi senior Quinn Armour, who founded a club connecting students to seniors in isolation due to the pandemic; SMFD firefighter Andrew Klein and SMPD Officer Stephanie Tovar will also be honored at the virtual celebration.

“I don’t think there’s any year in my history being here for 20, almost 23 years, where our police and fire have not been more tested,” says Rosen.

The virtual ceremony will include a video tribute showing “our heroes in service and in action,” says Rosen, an invocation from St. Monica Catholic Church’s Msgr. Torgerson and remarks from California State Senator Senator Ben Allen and the honorees.

Rosen hopes viewers will walk away inspired by these valiant public servants, health care professionals and community members making a difference.

“It’s about them being courageous… but it’s also about what they bring to be able to motivate and inspire others,” says Rosen.

The virtual ceremony starts at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Visit for sponsorship and ticket details.