First responders play a critical role every day in the communities where we live, work and play; and I am incredibly proud of Cisco’s commitment to thank, honor and support these heroes and their families. On Monday, Cisco was recognized by the National Law Enforcement & Firefighters Children’s Foundation (NLEAFCF), as our Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, had the honor of accepting the Corporate Hero Award during the first annual Hero Awards Gala in New York City.
I would personally like to congratulate Rudolph Giuliani who was also honored that same evening with the Public Service Hero Award for his exemplary leadership during and in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. He energized the city while providing swift responses and direction in a time of great need and confusion. We are honored and proud to be in his company for this award.
The Hero Award represents our company’s charitable culture and dedication to show appreciation for the courage and valor of our nation’s first-responders. It also transcends our company… as we looked around the room Monday night, so many of our partners, customers and business colleagues were also there, demonstrating gratitude for everything that first responders do. We are so proud to be part of the effort to thank them for their service and raise awareness about the needs that arise as a result of their personal sacrifice to keep us safe.
Created in the aftermath of September 11th by Alfred Kahn, NLEAFCF works to help the children of our fallen heroes, and to ensure that their sacrifice will be forever remembered. This organization has truly made a difference in the lives of these families, just as their lost loved ones made a difference in ours.
As a New York native, the effects of 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy were close to my home and to my heart. I lived and worked in New York at the time of the September 11 attacks, and currently reside in New Jersey. These catastrophes shook the nation, and for me, they were incredibly personal. Equally as personal was the amazing courage that first responders demonstrated in offering help to my family, friends, colleagues and community. In the face of tragedy, destruction and fear, they selflessly moved forward and gave everything they had to move people to safety, and serve as a beacon of hope.
In response, our goal is to provide support for the families of heroes who paid the ultimate price, and to ensure that the heroes have everything they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. This includes providing services and equipment to support emergency situations. When natural or manmade disasters strike, our Cisco Tactical Operations Team responds by providing necessary communications capabilities for law enforcement officials and firefighters on the ground. I would like to thank all our employees who worked hard to ensure that all the communication technologies were up and running during such emergencies.
During the event, Vince Bennett, one of our own here at Cisco who recently passed away, was honored for his contributions to the gala and supporting first responders; his memory will be honored with the Vincent Bennett, JR. Memorial Scholarship. Vince was the first to be recognized at the event and received a standing ovation. He will forever to be remembered as a hero by many who had the pleasure to know him.
Vince was a remarkable member of the Cisco team, and the company is helping to honor his memory by adding the fund to our charitable matching program. To request a matching donation, Cisco employees should log into Community Connection via the Cisco Citizen website (http://iwe.cisco.com/web/ciscocitizen), search for National Law Enforcement or NLEFCF, and follow the instructions. To ensure the funds are noted as being in honor of Vince, check the box that says, “This donation is in recognition of someone,” and fill in his name when prompted.
NLEAFCF and this recognition is a testament to the fact that we will never forget those who give their lives to rescue others. They are the source of our inspiration, energy and innovation. We are humbled by this honor and will strive to do our best and ensure that Cisco continues to serve those who serve.
To make a contribution to the NCLEAFCF Vincent Bennett, JR. Memorial Scholarship, go to http://nleafcf.org/get-involved/donate/