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‘Christmas-in-a-box’

GNY Promotes ‘Red Box’ campaign, presents award

The Greater New York Division (GNY) held its 66th Annual Gala at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on December 3rd. After 64 years as a luncheon, this was only the second annual dinner event. Honored were then–Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, who received “The Pinnacle of Achievement Award,” and Great Performances, a catering and events company specializing in serving New York’s arts and cultural community, which received “The Community Service Award.”

Kelly, the first New York City police commissioner to hold the post for two separate tenures, was honored for helping to make “New York one of America’s safest cities.” Great Performances was recognized for educating children about nutrition and for promoting anti–hunger initiatives. Its work with the Army has included providing Thanksgiving dinners and preparing and delivering meals to special–needs shelters during Superstorm Sandy. Receiving the award on behalf of Great Performances was Dean Martinus, president.

Michelle Charlesworth, reporter and co–anchor of WABC–TV’s Eyewitness News Saturday and Sunday Morning, served as host for the evening. Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, delivered the Christmas message as the evening’s keynote speaker. Speakers also included Lt. Colonel Guy D. Klemanski, divisional commander, who offered greetings and inspiring remarks.

GNY Advisory Board members Erin L. Esparza and Marcia Larson introduced The Salvation Army’s “Red Box Campaign,” a new initiative this holiday season in which—for just $65—donors can sponsor a “Christmas–in–a–box” containing non–perishable foods, clothing items, CDs, and other items for a family in need.

Featured musical performers were Tim Janis, number 1 Billboard–charting American composer and performer; Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, senior worship leader for Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church; and Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway, world–renowned flutists.

As a child growing up in Belfast, Ireland, Sir James Galway had attended a Salvation Army Sunday school. Recently, he and his wife visited Salvation Army facilities in New York while on tour in the U.S. Following their performance at the gala, Sir Galway was awarded a plaque for his outstanding contributions to music and humanitarian efforts with the Army and elsewhere.

Ministering in music were the Salvation Army’s internationally renowned Greater New York Youth Band & Chorus.

By Kenneth Speranza

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