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Annual gala raises over $500,000 to support Red Cross programs, services; event celebrates military service members, honors local heroes

Press Contact:
Cynthia Shaw
Phone: (408) 666-6857

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (March 20, 2017) – On Saturday, March 11, over 350 Bay Area community leaders attended the sold out annual Red Cross Gala, “Heroes Among Us,” honoring military service members, veterans and families who have selflessly served and those who are currently serving our nation as well as those who tirelessly support them. The signature event raised over $500,000 to support the Red Cross mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering during emergencies, with over $100,000 of that earmarked to specifically support Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces.

Chaired by Kate Smith and Ezra Garrett, this year’s red-tie affair featured a cocktail reception, live auction, hosted wine and spirits bar, three-course dinner, dancing, inspiring program, and an after-party, featuring live music by local favorite Notorious. EMMY award-winning broadcast personality and KCBS “Foodie Chap,” Liam Mayclem, emceed the night and auctioned off once-in-a-lifetime experiences from dining with cast members from Broadway’s hit production, Hamilton to being spoiled by some of Napa Valley’s finest food and wine experts.

The American Red Cross of the Bay Area recognized and celebrated four honorees – Dr. Russell Lemle, Founder of Pets for Vets; Jake Harriman, CEO of Nuru International; Major General James M. “Mike” Myatt, President and CEO of Marines Memorial Association; and Mary Louise Chapman, Red Cross Volunteer – for their outstanding dedication, service and contributions on behalf of service members, veterans and military families.

“We are grateful to all who supported and partnered with us to make this year’s gala such a success,” said Kate Smith, gala co-chair. “We were excited to honor our Service to Armed Forces honorees this year. The Red Cross relationship with the Armed Forces is much deeper than the amazing work the Red Cross does in response to natural disasters. It is on the front line and behind the scenes, each and every day.”

Corporate Sponsors included Audi, PG&E Corporation, Julia Morgan Ballroom, Wells Fargo, 49er’s Foundation, The Clorox Company, Deloitte, Dignity Health, Franklin Templeton Investments, Golden State Warriors, Kaiser Permanente, Oportun, Raiders, SalesForce, and Union Square Advisors.

Patron Sponsors included: Anonymous, Kelly and Ted Murphy, Nielma and Kirby Hock, Lillian Phan, V'Anne Singleton and Robert Elfont, Renee and Sebastian Bea, Bill and Janie Fountain, Ezra Garrett, Elizabeth Sevilla and Ron Lavelle on behalf of Seiler, LLP, and Theo Schwabacher and Michael Gallagher. Entertainment was underwritten by Jay Siegan Presents. Media Sponsors included Corduroy Media, Nob Hill Gazette, and Red Carpet Bay Area.

The 2017 Red Cross Gala committee includes co-chairs Kate Smith and Ezra Garrett; vice-chairs Nielma Hock, Alexandra Pastor, Lillian Phan, Kirsten Strobel, Eva Voisin and Julie Yarbrough; and committee members Renee Bea, Cassandra Boyer, Judy Davies, Janie Fountain, Sally Fowler, Ann Cheney Haslup, Michael Hoy, Breanna Johnson, Jennifer Lujan, Uli Martinez, Lauren McLaughlin, Kelly and Ted Murphy, Theo Schwabacher, and V’Anne Singleton.


About the American Red Cross of the Bay Area

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 call 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443-5722) or visit to learn more. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Editors Note: Photos available from Drew Altizer Photography