American Red Cross Heroes Among Us Gala 2022

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2022 Wednesday, March 23, 2022 Ziegfeld Ballroom | 141 W. 54th Street New York, NY 10019


6:00 p.m.


7:00 p.m.

Main Program Hosted by Cindy Hsu, CBS New York Anchor/Reporter Welcome and Introduction of Corporate Leadership Honoree Mary Barneby, CEO, American Red Cross, Greater New York Region Corporate Leadership Honoree Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP Accepted by Matt Barr, Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP Introduction of Humanitarian Honoree Hon. Vanessa L. Gibson, Bronx Borough President Humanitarian Honoree Denise Littlefield Sobel Special Broadway Performance Come From Away Introduction of Good Samaritan Heroes Zachary Iscol, Commissioner, New York City Emergency Management Good Samaritan Heroes Robert Febles and George Lesaine Introduction of National Hero Jeff Vacirca, MD, FACP, CEO, New York Cancer & Blood Specialist National Hero DaKoyoia D. Billie After-Party Musical Performance Rooftop Trees and Tangiers Blues Band


Welcome Mary Barneby, Regional CEO, American Red Cross in Greater New York Dear Friends, On behalf of the American Red Cross in Greater New York, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you—in person!—to the 2022 American Red Cross Gala: Heroes Among Us, a celebration of our humanitarian mission and those who make this work possible. Every day I am reminded of the urgent need for our vital mission assisting disaster survivors, supporting our military communities, collecting lifesaving blood, teaching critical preparedness and lifesaving skills, and distributing international humanitarian aid. At a time of global uncertainty, our work and this safety net of support — funded by your generosity — is more important than ever. As part of this special evening, we will recognize some very generous and committed partners: our 2022 Corporate Leadership Honoree Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and our 2022 Humanitarian Honoree Denise Littlefield Sobel. And we will shine a spotlight on a group of selfless and inspiring heroes: • Last Spring, New Yorkers Robert Febles and George Lesaine saved two children, a young mother, and a grandmother from a burning building in Brooklyn during their route as NYC Department of Sanitation workers. • Shortly after Atlanta-based travel nurse DaKoyoia D. Billie delivered her twin babies, she traveled across the country to help short-staffed hospitals during the peak of the pandemic. To all of you, our supporters here tonight, I offer my deepest gratitude for your commitment to the American Red Cross. Sincerely,

Mary Barneby Regional CEO, American Red Cross in Greater New York


Welcome John B. Osborn, Chairman, Board of Directors, American Red Cross in Greater New York Dear Friends, On behalf of the American Red Cross in Greater New York Board of Directors, THANK YOU for being with us tonight to recognize and support this extraordinary organization. After two historic years, we are thrilled to be together in person to celebrate the American Red Cross and its lifesaving mission. Lately, stories of tragedy inundate our screens daily. But, behind every headline of loss and heartache are everyday heroes who help ease the pain of those suffering. That’s what tonight is all about: recognizing those who make the world a little better through their compassion and altruism. The Red Cross is volunteer led. In fact, more than 90% of our workforce is comprised of selfless — and unpaid — individuals from all walks of life giving back to help others. Our communities are stronger, safer and more resilient because of these volunteers. Their time and passion, along with your generous support, allows the American Red Cross to carry out its important work. Tonight, we will recognize some of our generous Red Cross partners — Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Denise Littlefield Sobel — and honor extraordinary heroes — Robert Febles, George Lesaine and DaKoyoia D. Billie — whose actions and sacrifice inspire us all. To all our supporters, your belief in us ensures that the American Red Cross will be there 24/7 wherever it’s needed. With gratitude,

John B. Osborn Chairman, Board of Directors American Red Cross in Greater New York


Corporate Leadership Honoree Barry Wolf, Executive Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP I am honored to accept the Corporate Leadership Award on behalf of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, and to be part of a night celebrating humanitarian ideals and the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross. eil’s relationship with the American Red Cross is one that embodies W a legacy of service — a legacy that was spearheaded by one of the founders of our firm, Sylvan Gotshal, at least 70 years ago, and one that continues to fuel one of the firm’s most robust and historic nonprofit partnerships. For years, a pillar of our firm’s philanthropy has been focused on disaster relief, which has resulted in millions of dollars of philanthropic investment in the efforts of American Red Cross, as well as contributions to other disaster relief agencies across the U.S. and internationally. Weil has a longstanding commitment to stewarding financial resources and human capital in the direction of those who need it the most, demonstrating, I hope, the tremendous value that lawyers can bring to the greater nonprofit community. Thank you to our colleagues at the American Red Cross for your devotion and commitment to serving our communities and congratulations to our fellow honorees being recognized during this celebration. It is an honor for Weil to be named among civic leaders and heroic individuals who exemplify the humanitarian spirit, and I hope that this recognition only helps to propel our impact together.

Barry Wolf Executive Partner


Corporate Leadership Honoree Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP The partnership between the American Red Cross in Greater New York and Weil dates back to the mid 1900’s. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has been an unwavering partner at our side through the most challenging of times. Whether helping to raise critical funds for families in times of disaster or encouraging donations of lifesaving blood, Weil has been there to amplify our call and extend our reach and we are deeply grateful for their support.

Click on image below to view video


Humanitarian Honoree

Denise Littlefield Sobel Denise Littlefield Sobel is a devoted humanitarian and philanthropist, dedicated to repairing the world, known in Hebrew as tikkun olam. She focuses on disaster relief, food insecurity, social justice, and support for the arts with funding for programs that inspire diversity, inclusion and equity. As a former board member of our New York chapter, her long history with the American Red Cross started well before 9/11. Her altruism and leadership have strengthened the organization’s capacity to respond, not only to large disasters, but also to local emergencies, like home fires, that disrupt lives every single day. Denise’s emphasis on philanthropy is to inspire others to donate through matching funds and to raise visibility to support our programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped us raise essential funds to prevent home fires during the 2021 Sound the Alarm match initiative. Denise’s gift, programmed as the first national match designated for disaster prevention, helped the Red Cross to raise over $312,000 in just three days.

Click on image below to view video


National Hero

DaKoyoia D. Billie DaKoyoia D. Billie is an experienced nurse practitioner based in Atlanta, Georgia who travelled across the country to lend her compassion and expertise during the pandemic. The initial request to support healthcare facilities came in late March of 2020, early on during the COVID-19 crisis — a few weeks after she delivered her twin babies. With the encouragement and support of her family, DaKoyoia traveled to hospitals experiencing staffing challenges in New York City, San Antonio, and Austin. Explaining her decision to take on these assignments, with four children — including two newborns — back at home, she evokes the legacy of the women in her family, her mother and grandmother in particular: “[they are] just a long line of women making sacrifices no matter what, and so I think it just rubbed off on me.” She adds: “I couldn’t say no.” Click on image below to view video


Good Samaritan Heroes

Robert Febles

George Lesaine

Robert Febles and George Lesiaine, two veteran NYC Department of Sanitation workers, were going about their regular route on Saturday, May 22, 2021 when they noticed a nearby apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn on fire. Hearing piecing screams coming from the building, the two jumped off their truck and rushed towards the home. “It was completely dark ... completely black,” recalled Lesiane of the conditions inside. After helping a mother and her small children out, Febles and Lesiaine made their way upstairs to bring an older lady trapped on the second floor to safety. Ultimately, the pair helped save four lives. When asked why they risked their lives to rescue the family, Lesiane responds, “It was really a no-brainer.” Febles adds: “It was the humanitarian thing to do. If more people would take a little bit of their time to help [others] ... I think the world in some way would be a better place.” Click on image below to view video


American Red Cross in Greater New York Board of Directors John Osborn, Chair Jill Coyle, Vice Chair David Owen, Vice Chair

Anthony C. Acampora Dorothy L. Alpert Ashleigh Banfield Mary J. Barneby Matt Barr Tonia Bottoms Katherine Brennan Kermitt Brooks Tracy Brown Don Callahan Tim Castelli Robert Coghlan

Mylan Denerstein Marilu Galvez Heather Goodchild Joan Shapiro Green Edwin B. Hathaway Steven Joenk Surya Kant Radford W. Klotz Shailesh Kotwal Inderdeep Malik Elizabeth McCaul

H. Conrad Meyer, III Peter Micca Joseph Montesano John Rhea Peter Riguardi Mark Shelton Matthew Sniffen Meredith Spatz Funmi Taiwo Matthew Thompson Jeffrey Vacirca, MD Heather Wise

Heroes Selection Committee Josie Barnett Matt Barr Jill Coyle John T. DeCelle

Hedieh Fakhriyazdi Nicole Gregory H. Conrad Meyer, III

Braxton Midyetter Funmi Taiwo Adam Robinson Mark Shelton

Red Cross Senior Management Mary J. Barneby, Regional Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Dunn Ashley, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Metro New York North Chapter Krista Coletti, Regional Chief Development Officer Dario J. Diaz, Jr., Regional Chief Disaster Officer José Dominguez, Chief Executive Officer, Long Island Chapter Andrea Grimaldi-Grafer, Regional Chief Volunteer Service Officer Desiree Ramos Reiner, Regional Chief External Affairs Officer Susan Rounds, Regional Chief Operations Officer


Mission The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

About the Greater New York Region American Red Cross Greater New York Region serves more than 12 million people in New York City; on Long Island; in Rockland and Westchester counties; at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; and in Greenwich, Connecticut. We respond to an average of seven emergencies and disasters a day across the region — home fires, floods, building collapses and more — providing shelter, food, clothing and emotional support at no cost to those in need.


Thank You to Our Sponsors Presenting Sponsor

Inspiration Sponsor

Hero Sponsor

After-Party Sponsor

Visionary Sponsors

Elizabeth McCaul and Frank Ingrassia

Advocate Sponsors



Cindy Hsu Cindy Hsu is an Emmy Award winning anchor and reporter who has been at CBS 2 News in New York City since 1993. Hsu’s work at CBS 2 has been recognized with numerous awards. Recently, Hsu was awarded “Reporter of the Year” from the NY &NJ Asian-American Law Enforcement Organization. Her personal adoption story, “Bringing Rosie Home,” was nominated for an Emmy Award and won the New York AP Broadcasters Award for Best Feature. She received Emmy Awards for Outstanding Single Hard News Story for “Smuggled from China,” which exposed the horrific plights of Chinese refugees from the Golden Venture ship, and for her live coverage of the snowstorm of 1994. American Women in Radio and Television honored her with the Golden Apple Award, and she also received the Friends of Adoption Award from the Adoptive Parents Committee. Hsu spends much of her off-duty time performing community work and is strongly involved with the Asian-American community. She’s served on the Board of Directors of the Museum of Chinese in the Americas and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as the Newswatch Advisory Council which monitors fairness in journalism. Hsu is also a former President of the New York Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association.



Betsy Alexandre Betsy Alexandre is a charity auctioneer at Christie’s Auction House. She earned her B.A. in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has worked for Christie’s ever since. She currently works as a project manager on the Christie’s client experience team, where she spearheads a variety of global digital initiatives.


After-Party Rooftop Trees Rooftop Trees is a local band started in 2018. They have an EP out called Make A Road and have a new single called What A God. Focusing on melodies and harmonies derived from a classic rock background they dive into tropical splashes of grooving regularly, especially when playing live.

Tangiers Blues Band Tangiers Blues Band was formed in New York City 1998 when guitarist Chris Scianni and drummer Dave Borla met photographer Danny Clinch and discovered their mutual love for blues music. The original lineup included Chris (guitar), Dave (drums), Danny (harmonica), Huey Morgan (lap steel), King (vox and guitar), Dave Sellar (bass) and Peter Levin (keys). Since then, the band has evolved and added Diego Voglino on drums. The TBB line-up can change from show to show, with a deep rotation of musicians they have known and jammed with for many years. Special guests sitting in with the band have included Brandi Carlile, Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Dave Grohl, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Perry Farrell, G-Love, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, among many others.


Greater New York Podcast New American Red Cross Podcast: Disasters Untold Listen to short trailer Devastating hurricanes, sudden plane crashes, quick-spreading wildfires, prolonged power outages. No matter how big the emergency, the American Red Cross always answers the call for help. But what actually happens at the scenes of those frightening disasters? How do first responders provide help and hope in the face of tragedy? How do disaster survivors experience these events? How do news reporters capture these lifechanging moments? Disasters Untold, a new American Red Cross in Greater New York podcast gives some insight. It examines five of the largest emergencies and natural disasters that have impacted our country over the past 20 years — from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the deadly Paradise, California wildfires. Interviews with survivors, first responders, volunteers and news reporters bring different perspectives into focus and offer lessons for handling future emergencies. The six-part series is available by clicking below. Episodes can also be found on Apple Podcasts, Podbean, iHeart Radio, Spotfy and Stitcher by searching Red Cross NY. Click on the images below to listen to Podcast


The Northeast Blackout of 2003

Hurricane Maria

Miracle on the Hudson

The 2018 Campfire (Paradise, CA) Part 1 The 2018 Campfire (Paradise, CA) Part 2 15

A Look Back in Greater New York April 2021, Queens, NY Red Cross team members in Jackson Heights, Queens after an 8-alarm fire forced hundreds of individuals from their homes. The Red Cross arrived quickly to help residents and continued supporting in the days and weeks that followed. Photo Credit: Michael de Vulpillieres, American Red Cross in Greater NY June 2021, Mineola, NY The American Red Cross

on Long Island hosts a press conference alongside local partners, to mark the start of hurricane season, encouraging families to update their evacuation plans, organize supplies, and stay informed. Photo Credit: Craig Copper, American Red Cross in Greater NY

June 2021, Brooklyn, NY In Crown Heights, Brooklyn,

Red Cross volunteers and partners load disaster relief supplies bound for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a few weeks after a devastating volcanic eruption. Photo Credit: Yueyang Cheng, American Red Cross in Greater NY

July 2021, Manhattan, NY Love, appreciation, and

confetti shower essential workers, including Red Cross volunteers, marching the streets of Manhattan during the Hometown Heroes Parade, honoring those who have supported NYC during the pandemic. Photo Credit: Vivian Moy, American Red Cross in Greater NY

July 2021, Manhattan, NY An American Red Cross phlebotomist readies supplies at a blood drive in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Paul Frangipane, American Red Cross in Greater NY 16

A Look Back in Greater New York August 2021, Manhattan, NY The American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces team supported the 40th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games in New York City. Photo Credit: Kevin Suttlehan, American Red Cross in Greater NY September 2021, Mamaroneck, NY After historic

flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida forced Betty Montiero from her Mamaroneck home, she and her family found refuge at a Red Cross shelter. Photo Credit: Kevin Suttlehan, American Red Cross in Greater NY

September 2021, Queens, NY Milton Parra was one of many residents who welcomed a Red Cross cleanup kit following devastating flash flooding in his Queens neighborhood. Photo Credit: Kevin Suttlehan, American Red Cross in Greater NY

September 2021, Greenwich, CT. A ribbon-cutting

ceremony celebrates the newly-renovated American Red Cross Metro NY North Chapter headquarters in Greenwich, including the Jill and John Coyle Blood Donor Center. Photo Credit: Kevin Suttlehan, American Red Cross in Greate NY

November 2021, Brooklyn, NY After a 4-alarm

fire tore through an apartment building on Lenox Road in Brooklyn, Red Cross teams responded, providing emergency relief to dozens of residents. Photo Credit: Joe Chang, American Red Cross in Greater NY


A Look Back in Greater New York November 2021, New York, NY At the Third Annual Women’s Veterans Day Tribute Ceremony in Central Park, NY Governor Kathy Hochul thanked American Red Cross disaster mental health volunteer Dottie Brier for her service. Brier was one of seven Women in Service honorees. Photo Credit: Joe Chang, American Red Cross in Greater NY

January 2022, Bronx, NY After a devastating fire on

East 181st Street, Red Cross team members attend a vigil for those who lost their lives. In the hours, days and weeks following the tragedy, Red Cross volunteers worked around the clock to help. Photo Credit: Michael de Vulpillieres, American Red Cross in Greater NY

January 2022, Bronx, NY Following a building

explosion and fire, the Red Cross coordinates their response out of a Reception Center set up at a local church. Photo Credit: Michael de Vulpillieres, American Red Cross in Greater NY

February 2022, New Rochelle, NY After a large

apartment building fire, Red Cross teams provided comfort and care to dozens of displaced families. Photo Credit: Maria Anguiano, American Red Cross in Greater NY


American Red Cross Greater New York Region Fiscal Year 2021 Statistics (July 2020 to June 2021) The American Red Cross Greater New York Region serves more than 12 million people in New York City; on Long Island; in Rockland, and Westchester counties; at the West Point Military Academy; and in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Trained 47,897 people in First Aid/CPR/AED

Installed 19,327 free smoke alarms for the Home Fire Campaign

Educated 10,136 adults and children in emergency preparedness

Collected 6,274 lifesaving blood and platelet donations

Provided 4,835 services to military members, veterans and families

Responded to 2,212 emergencies and disasters: home fires, building evacuations, floods and more


United States Disaster Response Fiscal Year 2021 Statistics (July 2020 to June 2021) Generous donors and dedicated volunteers helped the Red Cross bring relief to individuals and families in need across the country.

Over 1.5 million overnight shelter and hotel stays provided.

Over 3.7 million meals and snacks served with partners.

Nearly 191,000 individual care contacts made to support health, mental health, spiritual care and disability needs.

Over 611,000 relief items distributed.

Over 32,300 households provided with recovery assistance.


Service to the Armed Forces Fiscal Year 2021 Statistics (July 2020 to June 2021) The American Red Cross helps military members, veterans and their families 1,400 times every day. With our presence across the globe, we are there to serve our military heroes every step of the way.

Distributed over 832,740 care and therapy items at medical facilities

Educated over 190,700 new members and relatives about Red Cross services

Helped rehabilitate and boost morale for over 96,700 hospitalized individuals

Reconnected over 94,700 military heroes with their families in times of personal crisis

Provided more than 15,600 family members with behavioral health support

Over 14,000 volunteers gave time valued at more than $19 million

*These are select examples from the wide range of services we provided to military members, veterans and their families in FY21.


Home Fire Campaign Highlights October 2014 — June 2021 Since 2014, Home Fire Campaign volunteers have joined fire departments and community groups at Sound the Alarm events all over the U.S., visiting homes to provide free smoke alarms, conduct fire prevention and safety education, and help families make an escape plan. Since 2020, this work looked different due to COVID-19, but our outreach and education efforts continued with partners like local fire departments.

At least 1,200 lives saved.

Over 2.2 million smoke alarms installed.

Over 1.7 million children reached through home fire preparedness programs.

Over 940,000 households made safer.


International Disaster Response Fiscal Year 2021 Statistics (July 2020 to June 2021) The American Red Cross empowers communities, delivers lifesaving disaster relief and risk reduction, and helps vaccinate children against measles and rubella worldwide.

Over 15 major emergency responses supported internationally.

Over 1,400 families reconnected through Restoring Family Links services.

Supported 21 preparedness and risk reduction projects in 10 countries.




Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has been a partner of the American Red Cross since the mid-1900s, spearheaded by our co-founder Sylvan Gotshal after joining the Board of Directors of the Greater New York chapter. We are proud of our longstanding partnership and look forward to continuing to support the Red Cross’ critical and life-saving work. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP



The Friese Foundation is proud to support the American Red Cross and congratulates heroes DaKoyoia D. Billie Robert Febles George Lesaine


Committed to making a difference in our communities.

© 2022 Jones Lang LaSalle IP, Inc. All rights reserved.

Let’s think about the future as much as today. At BNY Mellon, we celebrate the people who dedicate their lives to creating a better life for others. As a company committed to powering success for all, we are honored to support the American Red Cross Greater New York Region.

©2022 The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. All rights reserved.


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Fostering more resilient communities

Barclays proudly supports the American Red Cross and its mission to provide compassionate care in our communities in times of need.


Elizabeth McCaul and Frank Ingrassia

Congratulate the

A me ri can Re d C r os s He r oes A mong U s 2 0 22 Ho nore es

To the Heroes who have provided their time, effort, and resources in bringing hope to those that needed it most, we appreciate you. You have all made a difference in rebuilding lives for a better tomorrow.






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