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Annual GALA 2013

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Lt. COl Guy D. Klemanski

The Salvation Army Greater New York Division held its 66th Annual Gala at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City, on Tuesday evening, December 3rd.  Honorees for this year's event --- the second annual as a dinner after 64 years as a luncheon --- included New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly ("The Pinnacle of Achievement Award") and Great Performances ("The Community Service Award"), a catering and events company specializing in serving New York's arts and cultural community.

Commissioner Kelly, the first New York City police commissioner to hold the post for two separate tenures, was honored for his long career in public service and role in helping make New York one of the safest large cities in the nation. Great Performances was honored for its efforts in educating children about healthy nutrition and promoting anti-hunger initiatives, as well as its work with The Salvation Army, which has included providing Thanksgiving dinners to the hungry and preparing and delivering meals to special-needs shelters during Superstorm Sandy. Receiving on behalf of Great Performances was its president, Dean Martinus.  

Keynote speaker for the evening was the Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, who delivered the Christmas Message. Featured musical performers included Number 1 Billboard-charting American composer and performer Tim Janis; Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, Senior Worship Leader for Joel Osteen and the Lakewood Church; and world-renowned husband-and-wife flutists Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway.

After his performance, Sir James Galway --- who attended Sunday School with The Salvation Army growing up in Belfast, Ireland, and has been a visitor, with his wife, to Salvation Army facilities in New York while on tour in the U.S. --- was awarded a plaque for his outstanding contributions to music and humanitarian efforts with The Salvation Army and elsewhere.

Also performing on the program was The Salvation Army's internationally-renowned Greater New York Youth Band & Chorus.

Michelle Charlesworth, reporter and co-anchor of WABC-TV's Eyewitness News Saturday and Sunday Morning, served as host for the evening.

In addition to the Reverend Dr. Butts, speakers included Lt. Colonel Guy D. Klemanski, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army Greater New York Division, who offered greetings and inspiring remarks, and Erin L. Esparza and Marcia Larson, both members of The Salvation Army Greater New York Advisory Board, who spoke about The Salvation Army's "Red Box Campaign," a new initiative this holiday season in which, for $65, donors can provide a  "Christmas-in-a-box" containing non-perishable foods, clothing items, CDs, and more to a family in need (to learn more about this campaign, click here).