It was a night to honor the Department's most generous patrons.
The FDNY Foundation honored President and CEO of American International Group (AIG) Martin Sullivan and Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News and World Report and Publisher of the New York Daily News Mort Zuckerman at the annual Fire Commissioner's Humanitarian Awards Dinner on March 13, and raised a record $1.64 million for the nonprofit organization.
"The FDNY Foundation has been working year round to earn funds that go directly to public safety initiatives," said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta during the event at the New York Hilton. "They are contributing in a very tangible way to the safety of all New York's citizens."
Presented annually, the Humanitarian Awards recognize individuals for outstanding and continuing service to the New York City community.
Mr. Sullivan has a personal and professional dedication to the FDNY Foundation, including helping fund the development of the Fire Department's electronic command boards and supporting the FDNY Fire Zone's educational programs.
After visiting the quarters of Engine 4/Ladder 15, Mr. Sullivan said that he noticed the company's 9/11 memorial did not include contributions from his hometown's fire brigade, the London Fire Service. So during the Awards he presented Commissioner Scoppetta with a firefighter's helmet, uniform dress cap and certificates from the London Fire Service and Metropolitan Police for Engine 4/Ladder 15.
"[FDNY members] are true professionals," said Mr. Sullivan. "We are reminded tonight that we have true public servants in our midst who are willing to risk their lives for the public's safety."
Mr. Zuckerman has helped promote two of the FDNY's fire safety message by donating valuable advertising space for the Foundation's fire safety campaigns in U.S. News & World Report and the New York Daily News. He also has helped champion the outstanding work of the Department's brave members by regularly featuring fire and EMS personnel in the Daily News' "Hero of the Month" column.
"I feel honored, yet awkward, accepting this award, for the people who really deserve to be honored are all of you, who go out every day and protect this city and provide safety for the residents of this City," Mr. Zuckerman said.
Receiving this year's Commissioner's Service Recognition Award was the FDNY's Office of Recruitment and Diversity, including Director Michele Maglione and Captain Hector Tyler.
The FDNY High School for Fire and Life Safety received the Commissioner Thomas Von Essen Fire Safety Education Award. Mr. Von Essen announced at the ceremony that next year the award will be renamed the Chief William Feehan Award for Excellence in Schools, honoring the late chief's commitment to education.
"You represent the best of the City and have been pillars of support for the FDNY," said Chairman of the FDNY Foundation Steve Ruzow.
Established in 1981, the FDNY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports the life-saving work of FDNY members through various initiatives and sponsors a variety of educational and public awareness programs designed to reduce the number of fires and fire fatalities.
In the last year, the Foundation has launched the largest fire safety campaign in FDNY history, donated more than 150,000 smoke alarm batteries to the FDNY for the largest battery giveaway in City history, partnered with Leary Firefighters Foundation to fund new High-Rise Simulator at the FDNY Fire Academy and given nearly 9,000 fire safety presentations given under the Fire Zone on the Road program.