By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Photos by Anthony Plascencia/Ventura County Star

Rotary Club of Simi Sunset recognizing Local Legends

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - Tom Carney, a Simi Valley police officer who recently received a Local Legend Award from the Rotary Club of Simi Sunset, said the recognition is a tremendous honor, especially since he was only doing his job.

"And without a doubt, my partners who work with me on a daily basis would have done the same without thinking," said Carney, of Simi Valley. He was nominated by Simi Valley Police Chief Mitch McCann for saving a 17-year-old boy from an oncoming Metrolink commuter train in Simi Valley.

Carney was first to arrive April 29 on the scene where the teen was exhibiting suicidal behavior on the railroad tracks as a westbound train approached. Carney entered the tracks — without regard for his own safety — and proceeded with the rescue, officials said.

"In my line of work, we deal with the good and bad of this world," Carney said. "Most of the time, the citizens hear only about the bad, so this is a great opportunity to share a story of something good a police officer did in their community."

The Local Legend Awards seek to expose, acknowledge and reward exceptional acts of "service above self" — Rotary's motto — by members of the community, said Richard Grossman, of Simi Valley, president of Rotary Club of Simi Sunset.

"We believe our Local Legend Awards are unique in that the criteria is truly open to anyone, whether they hail from law enforcement, fire, military, medical or whether they are a private individual or business whose particular actions on a given day exemplified service above self," Grossman said.

Rotarians do not use the term "service" in the limited sense of imputed duty such as a person's profession, but rather in the broader sense of helping others in need, Grossman said.

"As for above self, we interpret this to mean acting without regard to one's own potential detriment," Grossman said. "In essence, we are seeking local stories of heroism and selflessness which may have gone unnoticed or under-noticed to turn into Local Legends."

Rotary aims to give out four such awards per year.

"Through the awards and more specifically, the underlying stories behind the recipients' actions, we hope to inspire our community and expose some of the real-life heroes walking among us," Grossman said.

At the time of engaging in a courageous act, a person is not thinking about recognition, Carney said.

"Our community depends on people who care and want to make a difference, whether it be small or big," Carney said.

"This award reminds me how important it is to be an active and engaged citizen of Simi Valley. Additionally, it offers the community an opportunity to recognize and encourage those people who care enough to intervene and make a difference."

Most of the civic and community awards in Simi Valley are focused on patterns or ongoing acts of volunteering, humanitarianism and/or philanthropy, not specific instances of heroism or selflessness, Grossman said.

"The goal is ... to inspire others and inform people of the kindness of the human heart," Grossman said, "and to honor those who have acted selflessly and in an extraordinary way demonstrated by their actions that they follow the Rotary motto of service above self."

Learn more: Visit, email or call 613-7277 for more information about nominations.

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