Above and Beyond the Call of Duty: 100 Club’s 2014 Valor Awards
“God couldn’t be everywhere, so he created police men and firemen …. ” This is the philosophy of the 100 Club, an outstanding organization that originated in Detroit in 1956. The 2014 Valor Awards Ceremony and Reception (at Maggiano’s Banquet Hall, 111 W. Grand Ave.) recently honored those significant individuals who courageously performed extraordinary acts of heroism; above and beyond the call of duty, to save lives or prevent tragedies from happening.
The 100 Club of Chicago is a proud organization whose practice is to provide assistance (financial and otherwise) to the families of fallen police officers, firemen, and paramedics who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
After the Presentation of Colors by Mike Ostrowski and the Chicago Police Dept. Honor Guard, Charlie Menghini played a stellar version of the National Anthem on his trumpet. Following an introduction of the evening’s guests by Tom Cashman and an invocation by Rabbi Moshe Wolf, 100 Club C.E.O. Joseph Ahern took to the podium for a presentation in memory of advertising pioneer Jim Schmidt. Along with co-worker Mark Mitten, Jim worked endlessly to develop the 100 Club’s Emmy Award winning Public Service Announcement (in 2012), which included Hollywood celebrities Dennis Farina, Gary Sinise, Dennis Franz, and Tom Dreesen among others.
After Tom Cashman and Jim O’Connor presented awards to various Police and Fire Department personnel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy narrated the remarkable actions of Sergeant James D. Cascone, who was rewarded with a plaque, a watch, and a medal. The F.B.I.’s division in Chicago was well represented by Matthew Desarno, who emphasized the valiant efforts of Special Agents Walker, Stakem, Osborne, and Bloss to this captive crowd. These four F.B.I. Special Agents heroically stopped a bank robbery (while in progress) in Richmond, IL and were rewarded in the same manner as James Cascone. Not to be overshadowed was the Chicago Fire Dept., with Commisioner Jose Santiago acknowledging Captain Mauricio Rodriguez and Captain Kiefer for their exceptional service.
A special thanks goes out to generous sponsor J.P. Morgan Chase (James V. Gilliam, Vice President) along with 100 Club’s C.E.O. Joe Ahern, whose never ending work made this event possible. Overall, this special evening was highlighted by some very brave men who quickly responded to emergency situations and instinctively rose to perilous challenges on a moment’s notice which resulted in saving countless civilian lives ….