This year’s gala will honor Eben Yager and Lew & Amy Kirschner for their involvement with the Red Cross. These honorees have donated both time and money to support several volunteer services and community outreach programs.
Eben Yager is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Short Season Single- A Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. With Yager as their leader, the Renegades received the 2012 MILBY award for “Team of the Year” and have reached new levels of growth in game day promotions and ticket attendance. Yager’s efforts go beyond the baseball field – most recently he has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross of the Mid-Hudson Valley, the Chair of the New York Blood Center’s Little Doctor’s Program and the Board of the Directors for the Council on Addiction Prevention & Education of the Dutchess County. Under Yager’s leadership, the Renegades have donated more than $400,000 to community outreach programs throughout the Hudson Valley area.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Eben Yager during his tenure as Board Chair, and I’m very pleased to honor his dedication and service to the greater community at this event,” said Darryl Lafferty, Chapter Executive Director. “Eben exemplifies good corporate citizenship through his leadership at the Renegades.”
Lew & Amy Kirschner have donated much of their time and efforts to benefit the American Red Cross and will also be honored at this year’s Mid-Hudson Valley Gala. After college the couple opened Lew’s Delicatessen on Broadway in Port Ewen. Born and raised in the Mid-Hudson Valley, the Kirschners have continued to help others through humanitarian services in the area they call home.
Mr. Kirschner started his career with public services as a clerk in the Kingston Police Department. He has been on the town council, serving multiple terms as a Legislature and Treasurer. He retired in 2009 as the Ulster County Commissioner of Finance. In addition to his public service work, Mr. Kirschner has been committed to community service. A few of the organizations Lew serves include: Alzheimer’s Association Co-Chairman, American Cancer Society Past President/Advisory Board Member, and Ulster/Greene American Red Cross Board Member & Finance Committee. The American Red Cross has also awarded him with the American Red Cross of Ulster County Founder’s Award.
Amy Kirschner was the past President of the Kingston Hospital Auxiliary and is often referred to as “the god woman behind the wonderful man who has done do many amazing deeds for Ulster County for most of his life.” Amy prides herself on being a non-joiner however; she is always supporting and reaching out to neighbors in need.
“Lew and Amy Kirschner have made such a positive impact in the Mid-Hudson Valley,” said Lafferty. “They are an inspiration to all of us who are working diligently toward building stronger, more resilient communities.”
Barbara Blair Kalmus, Chair of this year’s Gala and emcee has an extensive background in the for-profit sector. She most notably is founder and C.E.O. of Client Synergy, Inc., a privately held Women Owned Business whose mission is to “help companies reach their true potential by reviewing business practices and identifying opportunities to improve in an effort to maximize profits.” In addition to being a successful business owner, she has actively engaged in fundraising for more than 40 years, is a mentor for women entrepreneurs, and the proud mother of three daughters. Barbara claims that her world is like a roller coaster ride - "it is a wonderful thrill, but you have to be ready for what is next!"
“Barbara Blair Kalmus’ past experience and ‘thrilling’ attitude makes her the perfect event chair,” said Lafferty. “I feel so privileged to work with Barbara to ensure a fun and successful event.”
The Fire + Ice theme represents the typical types of disasters that the Red Cross frequently responds to in our region. The gala will feature gourmet cuisine, an open bar with specialty drinks, a silent auction and live auction while guests are entertained the David Heckendorn Band. Proceeds from the Fire + Ice Gala will support Red Cross programs and services.
The Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross was established in July 2011, following the consolidation of the Dutchess and Ulster County Chapters. It serves and provides aid to a population of 479,355 with the assistance of more than 700 dedicated volunteers.
During the past year, the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to 68 local disasters, trained 7,358 people to save lives, prepared 1,326 individuals for disasters and connected 163 local military families during critical times.