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Celebrating Extraordinary Acts of Compassion

nyc charity ball 2015
"Our heroes have made an enormous impact on our communities locally and across the United States."

Red Cross to Honor Heroes of the Valhalla Train Tragedy, Citi’s Michael Corbat,

Peter and Elisa Rapaport, and the White Family at Gala

On October 14, 2015, more than 500 Red Cross supporters will gather at Gotham Hall as the American Red Cross in Greater New York hosts its annual Honoring our Heroes Gala to recognize the heroic efforts and humanitarian contributions of people who embody the spirit and mission of the Red Cross. Honorees this year include: the Heroes of the Valhalla Train Tragedy, Citi’s CEO Michael Corbat, Peter and Elisa Rapaport, and the White Family of Kansas.

“Our heroes have made an enormous impact on our communities locally and across the United States. This event celebrates their compassion, courage, and commitment to helping others, and sends a powerful message to us all that you can make a difference every day,” said Josh Lockwood, CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York.

Every year in the Greater New York area, the Red Cross provides emergency relief following 2300 local disasters (including fires, building collapses/explosions and other weather-related emergencies) assisting more than 12,000 New Yorkers with emergency assistance – food, shelter, emotional/health support, and more. All proceeds from the event support Red Cross humanitarian services.

The Red Cross 2015 honorees are:

Danielle and Chris White, National Hero Award

After the heartbreaking loss of their 21-month old son in a fire at their home in Belleville, Kansas, the Whites have partnered with the American Red Cross to promote fire safety and install free smoke alarms in their community and beyond to help prevent future fire deaths. The Whites accept this recognition in memory of their son, Sawyer White.

The Heroes of the Valhalla Train Tragedy, Local Hero Award

Last February, a train traveling from Manhattan through Westchester County struck an SUV at a street crossing near the town of Valhalla. The accident destroyed the vehicle and left the first train car engulfed in flames. Within moments, passengers and nearby residents alike took action to lead panicked commuters to safety and administer life-saving first aid. Attending the Gala to accept the award will be James Wallace, a passenger in the first car, whose quick actions and first aid training helped many that night, as well as Mike Wolfert, Owner of The Cliffs and a certified EMT, who aided the passengers with 10 of his employees.

Michael Corbat, CEO Citi, Corporate Leadership Award

The Corporate Leadership Award recognizes an organization whose work reflects the fundamental principles of the Red Cross. Citi has worked with the American Red Cross to fund, implement and initiate relief and service efforts for nearly a century. Today, Citi Foundation is a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, supporting disaster relief operations in the United States and around the world. Citi and the Citi Foundation have supported these efforts through employee volunteerism and direct financial support of more than $18 million since 2003. Citigroup’s CEO, Michael Corbat, will accept the award.

Peter and Elisa Rapaport, Humanitarian Award

The Humanitarian Award recognizes individuals whose work exemplifies the humanitarian values of the Red Cross and inspires others to do the same. As dedicated volunteers, sponsors, and board members, Peter and Elisa Rapaport are fierce advocates of the Red Cross mission. Over the last two decades, Peter has volunteered in different capacities with the Red Cross, including serving on the Brooklyn Chapter Board and the Greater New York Regional Board, for which he served as Chair. Elisa’s volunteer experience with the Red Cross includes serving as a member of the Long Island Chapter Board, launching the Red Cross Club at Molloy College, where she is a professor, co-chairing the Greater New York Tiffany Circle, as well as serving as a member of the National Council of the Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders with the American Red Cross. They are long-term sponsors of volunteer recognition and support initiatives across the New York region and they helped launch a fire safety and preparedness program in low-income areas of Louisiana. Both have worked tirelessly to help strengthen the Red Cross and to teach the next generation the importance of compassion and volunteering.

Media Information

WHAT:

American Red Cross Gala, Honoring our Heroes

WHEN:

October 14, 2015

Interview opportunities 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

B-Roll of the event 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

WHERE:

Gotham Hall

1356 Broadway, New York, NY 10018

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:

Red Cross Leadership

Honorees:

  • Danielle and Chris White, National Hero Award
  • The Heroes of the Valhalla Train Tragedy, Local Hero Award
  • Michael Corbat, CEO Citi, Corporate Leadership Award
  • Peter and Elisa Rapaport, Humanitarian Award
  • MEDIA CONTACT:

    Desiree Ramos Reiner

    American Red Cross Greater New York Region

    External Affairs Officer

    646-531-0675

    media.GNY@redcross.org

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/gny and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.