DENVER (3/18/10) – Citing the countless hours of selfless, behind-the-scenes work, the Colorado National Guard’s family support group was among those honored at the 8th Annual Breakfast of Champions event hosted by the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross.
“This is a very important award for us and our program,” said Charlene Shields, state director, Colorado National Guard Family Programs. “It’s important because we were nominated by the Red Cross for a Red Cross award — and it is a tremendous honor for them to recognize our work.”
According to the Red Cross, the morning gala event is a celebration of those who have displayed courage and compassion in their actions to help others. It is also a celebration of the mission of the American Red Cross. The Breakfast of Champions honors the notion that “We can all be part of something bigger than ourselves.”
Shields went on to explain the Family Programs organization works on an almost daily basis with the Red Cross, a fact many may not be aware of.
“We work closely with the Red Cross, especially to notify deployed Soldiers and Airmen of emergencies that happen here at home, such as a death in the family or the birth of a new baby,” said Shields. “We work with the Red Cross office here, who in turn works with the Red Cross office in theatre.”
Shields also noted that the Red Cross can often get messages to servicemembers in theatre faster than tracking down a chain of command that may span three continents.
“We are here to honor our everyday, local heroes who serve our community,” said Charley Shimanski, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross Mile High Chapter. “They are police officers, firefighters, volunteers, medics, pilots, and nurses — the everyday heroes — who nurse our wounds … who feed us when we’re hungry.”
The downtown gala event drew more than 700 guests, including Denver Mayor John W. Hickenlooper.
“Because many of our heroes tend to be anonymous,” said Hickenlooper, “this is a unique opportunity for all of us to stop and be reminded of what it takes to make a great community.”
And while they don’t ask for thanks, explained Shimanski, the breakfast should serve an opportunity to do so.
Now in its eighth year, the Breakfast of Champions serves as an annual event to recognize everyday people who have performed extraordinary acts of courage, compassion and caring. The event is the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter’s largest fundraiser of the year and typically draws an audience of Denver business and community leaders, as well as local heroes and their families and supporters.