Bellflower hosts BRAVO awards starring keynote speaker, Danny Trejo

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Trejos Honors: Left to right: Villanueva, Trejo, Fernando Ruiz, Andrew Ferrer, Dan Koops. Hosts pose with scholarship recipients on Feb. 7, 2020. Photo credit: Daniel Suarez Jr.

Daniel Suarez Jr., Staff Writer

The city of Bellflower hosted the 25th annual BRAVO awards on Feb. 7 at the William & Jane Bristol Civic Auditorium. Award winners consisted of firefighters, sheriff deputies, neighborhood watch captains and local residents.

Despite the 11 a.m. start the auditorium was near capacity with many excited to hear from keynote speaker, Danny Trejo.

BRAVO stands for “Bellflower Recognizes Acts of Valor and Outstanding service.”

As the name suggests, it is where city officials and chief law enforcement honor recipients for demonstrating positive community action.

Attendees first heard from Bellflower Mayor Juan Garza, who praised the efforts and achievements made over the year, namely a historic low in reported crime and reductions to both homicides and burglaries.

Guest speakers included LA County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, and Fire Department Chief, Daryl Osby. Both took the opportunity to recognize the work done by their departments, “It’s important that (recipients) are recognized for their gifts, and how they share these gifts with their community,” said Chief Osby.

Danny Trejo is a Mexican-American actor, activist and business owner from Los Angeles. He received a warm welcome from the audience, coming out in a charcoal-grey suit and his usual black homburg hat.

Trejo spoke about his life experiences and attributed much of his own success to the kindness of others. “Everything good that’s happened to me happened as a direct result of helping someone else,” is a main idea that Trejo reiterated several times.

In one anecdote, Trejo described being type-casted during his early acting career. “In every movie I came out in, the credits would say ‘Danny Trejo (as) inmate #1’,” he said.

He said that receiving help as a young actor allowed the movie star and entrepreneur to elevate his career. He congratulated the BRAVO award recipients and said that the positive impact they had made on their communities is immeasurable.

Honorees were each invited on stage to receive their awards and take pictures with the presenters. Officers recognized were Sheriff Asad Megally, Deputy Eric Saavedra and Deputy Ayub Manjra for outstanding service; Deputy Brent Parriott and Deputy Steven Saldivar received awards for Valor.

Firefighters Adam Domiguez, Ronald Kusumi, Jeffrey Poster, Jason Young and Captain Daniel Murchison were also awarded for outstanding service.

Three other recipients included 911 operator, Patricia Bateman for distinguished service, Neighborhood watch captain Gregory Delahoussaye for Captain of the Year, and Milt Gilman for outstanding citizen.

The BRAVO awards also recognized two high school students based on their community-improvement essay submissions. Seniors, Andrew Ferrer of Mayfair High School and Fernando Ruiz of Bellflower High School, both had excerpts of their writing read aloud to the cheers of fellow classmates in the audience.

Ruiz’s essay made a compelling argument about using beautification to promote a better environment and safer communities. The students were each awarded $500 in scholarships.