Newport Beach residents joined city officials Tuesday at the Central Library to watch a live-video stream of a White House awards ceremony honoring excellence in disaster preparedness.
Matt Brisbois, the Newport Beach Fire Department's life safety specialist, and Karen Tringali, a member of the CERT Volunteer Board of Directors, attended the ceremony in Washington, D.C. to receive the Champions of Change award on behalf of the NBFD's Community Emergency Response Team.
The audience cheered and clapped when Brisbois was introduced to accept the award.
“I’m sitting up here when in reality it’s the 1,000 volunteers who should be here,” Brisbois said during his speech. "They are like 1,000 car salesmen, knocking on doors and going out and promoting disaster preparedness everyday.”
Newport's CERT team was created to help residents be prepared to respond during an emergency or disaster situation. The program focuses on recruiting new volunteers, education and advanced training in areas including CPR/First Aid, survival training, HAM Radio Communications and more.
Several CERT volunteers gathered to watch the live-video stream, and said it was an unforgettable moment.
“It’s a dream come true that the city of Newport Beach'S CERT Program is recognized with the top national honor that FEMA can give," Nancy Sanchez, a former CERT volunteer of the year, said. "To think Matt Brisbois, our supreme organizer, in the White House, that’s a thrill.”
Brisbois shared the national spotlight with
honorees from eight other states.