In celebration of local community heroes, the American Red Cross New Jersey Region hosted its annual Celebrate Red! Gala on the evening of Thursday, May 9, at The Westin Governor Morris in Morristown.
The Red Cross paid tribute to BMW of North America, recipient of the William W. Augustine Award; Edward J. Susco, recipient of the Quinn Award; and the organizers of the Stay Strong Michael Blood Drive are the recipients of the Bob Clancy Culture of Caring Award.
"It is with grateful hearts that we recognize this year's Celebrate Red! honorees and their tremendous impact on our community," said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. "Each of our honorees in their own way have graciously helped carry forward the Red Cross mission here in New Jersey."
William W. Augustine Award: BMW Group
For more than a quarter century, BMW Group has supported the American Red Cross and its disaster relief efforts that touch communities across the United States. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, BMW donated several first generation X5 Sport Activity Vehicles to support Red Cross operations. BMW also has a long history of supporting Red Cross relief efforts following large-scale natural disasters. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and, more recently, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, BMW and its associates donated millions of dollars in aid to support communities devastated by these disasters.
Looking for ways to support the Red Cross outside times of disaster, a team with BMW of North America created a campaign which donates $5.00 from the sale of each official BMW First Aid Kit sold at dealerships and included it as an option with the purchase of each new sedan. To date, this successful campaign supporting all Red Cross programs and services, has raised more than $1 million. BMW of North America, LLC is a current member of the Annual Disaster Giving Program, a recognition society reserved for corporate partners who contribute more than $500,000 annually to the American Red Cross.
Quinn Award: Edward J. Susco
Sparta resident and American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey Board Member Edward J. Susco captures the spirit of the Quinn Family's legacy and continues to strengthen the fabric of his community through the mission of the Red Cross. For more than 15 years, Susco has volunteered in various roles with the organization, including Board Chair and Community Volunteer Leader. Susco has served on fundraising event committees, executive search committees and has been a mentor to new Board members. He also plays a key role with an annual collection of comfort items which are shipped in care packages to members of the Armed Forces serving overseas.
The Quinn Family legacy has deep roots in Sussex County, which began with the founding of the Red Cross Chapter by Mrs. Joseph P. Quinn, Sr. in 1917. Susco’s contribution of dedicated service, time, and personal resources to assist the American Red Cross in the accomplishment of its humanitarian mission are being honored with the Quinn Award.
Bob Clancy Culture of Caring Award: Nicole DiMaggio, Michelle Clark, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Marguerite White and Rosalinda Rubio-Williams
The Stay Strong Michael Red Cross Blood Drive was originated in Chatham by five local mothers in honor of Michael DiMaggio, currently a sophomore in high school. Michael was severely injured in October of 2014 when he was struck by a car while walking home from school on a Main Street sidewalk in Chatham. Michael suffered life-threatening injuries and required seven blood transfusions within the first 72 hours of the accident. According to his family, Michael’s strength and determination, coupled with the love and support he received, including lifesaving blood from volunteer blood donors, have helped lead Michael to a miraculous recovery.
Michael’s mother Nicole DiMaggio, along with Michelle Clark, Melissa Fitzgerald, Marguerite White and Rosalinda Rubio-Williams organized the first annual Stay Strong Michael blood drive that year. The drive has been held every year since, collecting a total of 266 units of blood. The organizers are being recognized for their commitment to help create a culture of caring in the community.
Celebrate Red! is possible thanks to the support of sponsors, including Disaster Relief Sponsors BMW of North America, Celgene and Investors Bank; Humanity Sponsors Allergan, Proskauer and PSEG; Preparedness Sponsors AllState, Audio Visual Associates, Inc. and M&T Bank; Lifesaver Sponsor Deloitte; Hero Sponsor Ziegler, Zemsky, and Resnick LLC.; Dancing Sponsor Nisivoccia; and Auction Sponsor Ernst & Young.
Each day, Red Cross volunteers respond to local disasters, teaching lifesaving health and safety skills, ensure patients have access the blood they need to survive, support US service members and their families, and help those impacted by international crises.
Proceeds from the Celebrate Red! Gala support Red Cross program and services, including disaster relief for families affected by home fires. Last year, the American Red Cross New Jersey Region responded to more than 900 local disasters, mostly home fires, to provide comfort and emergency assistance for temporary lodging, food and clothing as needed to more than 2,250 New Jersey families.