More than 400 business leaders, elected officials and community members concerned about children and teens who are living in a family crisis situation attended our Silicon Valley Community Awards Luncheon on January 30. We were pleased to honor three local champions for children and families. And thanks to our generous sponsors and guests, we raised $190,000 for children and families in the community. Read more about the honorees and sponsors, and get the first look at event photos.
Champions for Kids and Families
The Community Star in Action Award went to Bill Del Biaggio, founding chairman of Heritage Bank of Commerce, in recognition of the many years he and his late wife, Helen Del Biaggio, have supported nonprofit agencies in the region. Longtime EMQ FamiliesFirst volunteer Cheryl Bailey received the Donor Recognition Award, and State Senator Jim Beall received the Leadership and Advocacy Award for his efforts in creating public policies and laws that help foster care children and people with mental health disorders.
Emcee Mike Inouye, NBC Area, helped present the awards with assistance from former San Jose City Council member Nancy Pyle who serves on our Bay Area Region board of governors.
What Helped “The Golden Gate Guardian” Save Lives
Keynote speaker Sgt. Kevin Briggs, retired California Highway Patrol, spent most of his 23 years on the job patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge. While on the job, he prevented more than 200 adults and teens from committing suicide. His skill in compassionate crisis management earned him the title of “The Golden Gate Guardian.”
Sgt. Briggs told the crowd of one young man who he convinced to climb back over the bridge railing to safety. When asked what it was in their 90-minute conversation that made him change his mind, the distraught man replied, “You listened. Nobody’s listened in my whole life. I was abandoned by my mom and then in foster care.” Sgt. Briggs believes EMQ FamiliesFirst’s programs that identify children and teens at risk of hurting themselves or others can, and do, save lives.
Thanks to Generous Sponsors
Title sponsors for the event were Neal and Jan Dempsey and Coast Counties Trucking. Major sponsors included presenting sponsor Heffernan Insurance Brokers; platinum sponsors, Dan and Charmaine Warmenhoven and El Camino Hospital; and gold sponsors, Heritage Bank of Commerce and John and Valerie Hopkins. Silver sponsors included Joseph J. Albanese, Inc.; Suhr Risk Services; Abbott, Stringham & Lynch; and Adleson Hess & Kelly. The media sponsor was NBC Bay Area.