Local News

Tuesday, Oct 30 2012 08:01 PM

Three locals to be featured on series honoring heroic work

BY REBECCA KHEEL Californian staff writer rkheel@bakersfield.com

Three locals will be dubbed "Great American Heroes" when they appear on a TV show of that name airing nationally Wednesday night on the network GAC.

Capt. Steven Dietz of the Bakersfield Firefighter's Burn Foundation, Sgt. Chad Jackman of the Bakersfield Police Activities League and Wendy Porter of the Wounded Heroes Fund were chosen to be featured on the television series' sixth episode of its first season, to air at 8 p.m.

On the show, country singer Trace Adkins meets with locals who have helped their communities during stops along his tour. Other organizations across the country the show has featured include a dance program for at-risk children, a horse rescue shelter and a group that sends care packages to troops overseas.

Capt. Steven Dietz

Dietz was one of the founding members of the Burn Foundation. The foundation, started about 20 years ago, is a nonprofit aimed at helping burn survivors. Burns are the most expensive of any kind of injury, Dietz said.

"Think about if a child was burned in their face or upper body," he said. "Think about all the organs that would be affected and all the different specialists. Sometimes it can get to seven to 12 different specialists."

Dietz said he was taken aback when he got a call asking him to be on the show. He's honored to be featured, but said the real appreciation should go toward other firefighters who work with the foundation and the community.

"I'm a man who wants to see credit where credit is due," he said.

Sgt. Chad Jackman

Jackman is the executive director of the Bakersfield Police Activities League. The league is a nonprofit that aims to curb juvenile delinquency through activities and programs for youth.

Jackman, too, said he was humbled by the recognition. When he first got the call asking him to be on the show, he said he thought his friends were playing a joke on him.

"I was singled out, but I'm not worthy. I'm just the schmuck who pays the bills," he said.

Jackman thinks Adkins and the show chose him and the league because children and police work together and that the organization is a nonprofit, as opposed to being run by the city.

One thing that will stick out in Jackman's mind about the experience was being called up on stage during Adkins' concert.

"That was embarrassing. It was pretty scary," he said.

Wendy Porter

Porter is the founder of the Wounded Heroes Fund, which helps veterans who were injured during their service transition back into everyday life. Porter is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and thought that more needed to be done to help veterans returning from the Middle East.

Some of the organization's programs include awarding grants, providing access to support services and funding activities for veterans to bond.

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