It could have been just a typical summer Friday night. Justine Garcia and Deedee Reyna — like so many other teenagers — were hanging out at the Renaissance Theater in Alhambra. But on July 10, 2009 they watched as a man struck his girlfriend. When the victim fell to the ground and called for help, Garcia and Reyna rushed to her aid and attempted to separate her from her boyfriend. They were soon aided by Michael Valle, who was working at the nearby Temptations Chocolate Factory. Upon hearing the commotion, he rushed toward them and attempted to shield any further blows to the victim.
The assailant was later arrested and charged with domestic battery. But the work was not over for Garcia, 19; Reyna, 18; and Valle, 21 — the victim refused to testify against her boyfriend in court. In her place, the three attended various hearings and testified. For their contribution, they were presented with Courageous Citizen Awards by Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and Deputy District Attorney Karen Montoya, based in the Alhambra branch office at a ceremony held by the Rotary Club of Pasadena on Wednesday.