To see photos from the event click here
The 17th Annual Groundbreakers’ Gala Celebration
New Ground will host the 17th Annual Groundbreakers’ Celebration on Wednesday, October 18th at the Garden City Hotel. The evening begins with cocktail hour at 6:30 PM followed by dinner with silent auction, grand raffle and raffle baskets throughout the evening. A Color Guard presentation will be made by the Marine Corp. Co-Chairs are Joanne Meyer Jendras and Lois Kuster, and our Honorary Co-Chairs Senator Kemp Hannon and the Honorable Steve Israel.
This year’s honoree and recipient of the Groundbreakers’ Award is Charles C. Russo, Esq. Charlie is the senior partner at the firm Russo, Karl, Widmaier & Cordano, PLLC. A graduate of the University of Vermont and Hofstra Law School, he spent several years as an assistant district attorney prosecuting major felonies in Suffolk County and remains active in the practice of criminal law. He has embraced a lifelong dedication to young people. For 37 years he has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and legal counsel to Hope House Ministries which provides family services, counseling and residential facilities for young men, the homeless, and families in need. His roots in this area of service stem from his days at Melville House, a residential home for young men where he lived for six years. He credits that experience and his employment at the Nassau County Children’s Shelter with significantly shaping his sensitivity and commitment to the homeless and youth in crisis.
For the past 34 years Charlie has been the founder, fundraiser, and “man in the red suit” for a project known as Christmas Magic, which enhances the holiday spirit for families in crisis and for the children who seek only to experience the magic of Christmas. He is also a Founder and Board Member of Empire National Bank in Islandia, New York. As a result of his efforts, Charlie was recently presented with the prestigious New York State Bar Association Root/Stimson Award.
New Ground is also proud to recognize longtime supporter and member of New Ground’s Advisory Board Robert Fusaro, this year’s recipient of the Máiréad M. Barrett Founder’s Award. This annual award is presented to individuals who have given their time, talent and/or expertise to benefit New Ground Veterans and families. The Máiréad M. Barrett Founder’s Award bears her name as she set the example for all the rest who follow. Sr. Máiréad founded New Ground to address the recidivism seen in the homeless population circulating through Nassau and Suffolk County shelters. While working in a Long Island homeless shelter, she had first-hand experience with families who were stuck in a cycle of poverty and homelessness. Following crises that made rent impossible to afford, families in the shelter worked hard to get back on track, save money, obtain employment and secure new housing. However, a few months later the same family would be right back in the shelter. Sr. Máiréad recognized this was due to a lack of support and necessary education and life skills vital to breaking the cycle. Bob Fusaro has demonstrated great dedication to the mission of New Ground, assisting with our organizational growth in new areas as well as increasing services to a larger number of households.
Please join us in recognizing the tremendous efforts of Charlie and Bob benefitting the Long Island community, and support New Ground to continue to help our Veterans and families achieve their dreams. For information on tickets, grand raffle (5 night stay in a 1-bedroom villa at Disney’s Old Key West Resort with round trip airfare for two), journal ads, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact us at 516-546-4764 x125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.