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Stater Bros. Charities has honored four individuals with its 2009 Heroes of the Heartland Awards, as part of the 2nd Annual Stater Bros. Charities Dave Stockton Heroes Challenge event. The Heartland Awards recognize recipients who exemplify a caring commitment to their communities. The awards banquet took place Sunday, March 1 at the Victoria Club in Riverside, Calif.
The award recipients are former San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Gary Penrod; Redlands, Calif., realtor Lois K. Lauer; founder of Calimesa, Calif.'s Garden Of Angels Debi Faris; and executive director of Apple Valley, Calif.'s Happy Trails Children's Foundation Joel Dortch.
Stater Bros. Charities is donating $5,000 in honor of each of these individuals to the charities of their choice: for Penrod, C.O.P.S. Southern California Chapter, which provides resources to help rebuild the lives of survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty; for Lauer, Victoria Elementary School, an ethnically diverse institution of learning in Redlands; for Faris, Garden of Angels, which buries the bodies of abandoned and unclaimed Southern California children at Desert Lawn Memorial Park in Calimesa; and for Dortch, Happy Trails Children's Foundation, which works with the community to prevent child abuse.
In other Stater Bros. Charities news, the grocer is giving the Captain Leland F. Norton Award for community service to the late Martin A. Matich, CEO of construction company Matich Corp. and a noted local philanthropist. Matich Corp.’s major projects include the 2.1 million-square-foot Stater Bros. distribution center on the grounds of the former Norton Air Force Base. The facility opened in October 2007. The award will also be prevented at the March 1 event.
San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. Markets operates 166 supermarkets, and employs over 19,000 members of the associates. Last year, Stater Bros. established Stater Bros. Charities, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to give back to the communities the California grocer serves. In 2008, Stater Bros. Charities donated $1.4 million to local causes.