The 23nd Annual FDNY Dinner brought in record funds to support the life-saving work of the FDNY. The dinner took place at the New York Hilton in Manhattan on Wed., May 16. Maurice DuBois of WCBS-TV served as emcee.
The dinner is held every year to honor individuals and businesses who have provided support to the Fire Department of New York.
“Though we see far fewer people losing their lives in fires today, we still see tragedies – terrible fires that claim young lives and destroy families – tragedies that we know can be avoided,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “They are a stark reminder of how vital the FDNY Foundation and its many supporters are to protecting our city, educating New Yorkers, and preventing deaths. In the last year, we reached more than 750,000 New Yorkers at fire safety events supported by the Foundation.”
“It’s truly an honor to join you once again tonight and say thank you on behalf of the FDNY members in this room who proudly wear this uniform and on behalf of all the men and women on duty in our Firehouses and EMS Stations this evening, bravely protecting our great city,” said FDNY Chief of Department James E. Leonard. “Each year, the Foundation is there to assist our uniformed members, providing funding for training initiatives and equipment, funding which results in lives saved, better fitness, and improved safety for the men and women who serve.”
“Your support saves lives. Funds raised tonight enable the FDNY Foundation to provide scholarships, fire and life safety education programs, fitness training, equipment and more,” said FDNY Foundation Board Chairman Stephen Ruzow. “Your kindness and generosity allow the Foundation to support the life-saving mission, initiatives and unending work of the members of the FDNY.”
“The money we raise here tonight and year-round allows us to fund critical outreach programs,” said FDNY Foundation Board Vice Chairman Robert Zito. “We know that one fire death is one too many. That is why we must never stop working on behalf of the FDNY, making sure that every person in our city is safe from fire. The programs you fund help to make this kind of outreach possible.”
This year, the FDNY and FDNY Foundation honored an incredible supporter of the FDNY, Bayo Ogunlesi.
Ogunlesi is Chairman and Managing Partner and a Founding Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners, a leading private equity firm that invests in infrastructure assets.
Ogunlesi recently had the opportunity to visit Engine 22 Ladder 13 in Manhattan. While there, Mr. Ogunlesi met firefighters and toured the company.
“To say I was blown away is an understatement. I got to spend time with the most talented and dedicated people. They are dedicated to saving lives. I came away from that visit to the firehouse with a tremendous respect for the members of the Fire Department. The FDNY Foundation makes sure the members are trained and ready to save lives,” said Ogunlesi, receiving the Humanitarian Award.
Additionally, the FDNY Service Recognition Award was presented to the members of FDNY’s CPR Unit.
The CPR Unit – funded by the FDNY Foundation – has trained more than 110,000 New Yorkers in compressions-only CPR, giving them the power to step in and help in the case of an emergency. The CPR Unit was honored for their commitment to excellence in training and informing New Yorkers about the power of bystander and hands-only CPR.
This year’s Chief William M. Feehan Fire Safety Education Award – which is awarded each year to a school for its dedication to fire safety and its participation with the FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit – was presented to P.S. 83 Donald Hertz in the Bronx for their work on incorporating fire safety education into their school’s curriculum.
Over the course of four years, school leaders have looked to cultivate a relationship with the FDNY and to give students continued opportunities for exposure to fire and life safety education. Since 2014, hundreds of students have visited the FDNY Fire Zone at Rockefeller Center, New York City’s state-of-the-art fire safety learning center. At the Fire Zone, students had the opportunity to climb on a realistic fire truck, try on bunker gear, meet firefighters and learn how to crawl through a smoke-filled hallway. Additionally, the students learned what to do in a fire emergency through hands-on exhibits and multimedia presentations, including a simulated fire scene.
“This is the incredible impact the FDNY Foundation makes in our city – teaching the most vulnerable among us, our children – and helping to keep them safe,” said Chief Leonard, presenting the school with the award. “Through your support, know that each of you plays a role in our mission to protect these children from fire.”
The event raised a record $3.3 million for the Foundation, which supports FDNY fire and life safety education efforts, as well as education, training and equipment for members of the FDNY.