Helps Families Of First Responders Lost In Service
A fund-raising group that offers financial help to the families of fallen firefighters and police officers celebrated the volunteers who make the organization possible.
The New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund hosted its Second Annual Volunteer Party at in Manhattan Dec. 18.
The families of fallen first responders, supporters and friends gathered to celebrate the year-round dedication of the Benefit Fund’s hard-working volunteers. Arielle Lenza Di Ciollo, director of development for the Benefit Fund, greeted guests and expressed her appreciation for their commitment and steadfast support.
“This evening, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the extraordinary volunteers who are always there to ‘Answer the Call,’ making it possible for the Benefit Fund to provide financial assistance to the families of fallen New York City Police Officers, Firefighters, Port Authority Police and EMS personnel,” said Arielle. “We can’t thank you enough for your commitment to our organization and to our beneficiary families.”
At the event, Arielle presented the 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award to Deutsche Bank’s director of client engagement marketing, Chloe Ching, and vice president of client promotion, Brian Cassidy, for their dedication to the Benefit Fund.
“Chloe and Brian have shown unwavering support over the past years,” said Di Ciollo. “They have been a blessing to our organization, showing all of us what it really means to give back to those who keep us and our city safe.”
Special guests for the evening included beneficiaries Patricia Gillespie, Lindenhurst resident and wife of fallen NYPD Officer Kevin Gillespie, and Margaret Mosomillo, Astoria resident and wife of fallen NYPD Officer Anthony Mosomillo.
These women, who lost their husbands within two years of each other, met through the Benefit Fund and have since formed an inseparable bond.
For Mosomillo, the Benefit Fund has played an immeasurable role in her life.
“Even though it has been 15 years, it still brings tears to my eyes every time I receive a check from the Benefit Fund,” said Mosomillo. “It is not about the amount, but just that they remember us, it’s a symbol that we are not forgotten.”
Other beneficiary guests included Carmen Suarez of Glendale and Marcela Leahy of Staten Island. Their husbands, P.O. Ramone Suarez and P.O. James Leahy both died in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Suarez and Leahy did not know each other before they lost their husbands, but have since become close friends, even vacationing together with their families.
Martha Williams, of Teaneck, NJ, lost her husband, Fireman Johnnie Williams, on Oct. 29, 1974 and has been a beneficiary for nearly 30 years.
She still makes an effort to participate in any events hosted by the Benefit Fund.
Founded in 1985 by Daniel J. “Rusty” Staub, the Benefit Fund currently serves over 600 families. Last year, the Benefit Fund distributed more than $2.5 million to the families of fallen first responders.