A hero is a person who is admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. There are heroes all around the horse racing industry and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (RTCA) recognizes some of these selfless servants through its White Horse Awards. Established in 2003, the White Horse Awards recognizes individuals within the horse racing industry for their acts of selflessness and bravery.
The RTCA White Horse Awards ceremony is held in conjunction with the Breeders Cup World Championships, a week that honors the best in the sport. This year's speakers at the ceremony will be a panel comprised of Basketball Coach Avery Johnson, Hall of Fame Jockey Ramon Dominguez and the founder of West Point Thoroughbreds, Terry Finley.
The honorees are as follows:
White Horse Award – The White Horse Award goes to an individual or group who has performed a heroic act on behalf of human or horse. This year's White Horse Awards goes to Gilbert Cardenas, Del Mar assistant starter. On Sunday, July 27th, after the start of a turf race, one of the other assistant starters crumpled to the ground, the victim of a heart attack. Gilbert shed his vest and helmet and began checking his co-worker for signs of life. Finding none, Gilbert began CPR, aided by Arturo Moreno, another turf course worker. They continued to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived. Because of their quick action and with the help of other Del Mar team members, their co-worker is now recovering nicely and expects to be back at the track soon.
RTCA also wants to recognize the bravery of another finalist for the award: Heather Cellinesi. Heather's heroic action saved the lives of 18 horses from a barn that was engulfed in flames at the Anchor & Hope in Port Deposit, Md. on Aug. 12.
“The heroic actions of individuals like Gilbert and Heather exemplify what the White Horse Award is all about, which is humbly sacrificing yourself for others,” says Dan Waits, Executive Director of RTCA. “We want to thank all who submitted nominations and for the ongoing support of this award.”
Community Service Award – This award is presented annually to an individual or group who has made significant contributions to racetrack chaplaincy ministries through involvement and participation. This year's Community Service Award goes to Corey Johnsen.
“Throughout his illustrious career, Corey has always promoted and championed the Chaplaincies of RTCA and is very deserving. This award shows our deepest appreciation,” said Waits.
If you wish to attend the ceremony, please go to http://www.rtcanational.org to reserve your seat today!
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