American Red Cross of the Chesapeake announces Hometown Heroes Awards

The American Red Cross of the Chesapeake Region honors organizations and individuals whose contribution and service to others has distinguished them as “hometown heroes.”  The Hometown Heroes tradition has been a community event for more than 16 years; and the 2014 event is poised to become our signature fundraising event of the year, not just for the American Red Cross but for the entire Chesapeake region. Tickets are $125, of which $100 is tax deductible, and are on sale at

Hometown Heroes began as a small breakfast that drew an attendance of 35 people the first year. Since that first year, it has grown to a regular attendance of 600 to 800 supporters and is now an evening program consisting of networking, awards, video tributes and more. Notable keynote speakers include Dr. Ben Carson, Brian Billick, James Earl Jones, Marvin Lewis of the Washington Redskins, Lenny Moore of the Baltimore Colts, and Red Cross national leaders.

                                                2014 Hometown Heroes Award Categories


Chairman – Recognizes an individual/organization for their leadership in the area of social justice.

2014 Recipient: Alec Ross


Community Impact – Recognizes an individual/organization for making a direct, grassroots impact in the Chesapeake region.

2014 Recipient: McCormick & Co.

Fallen HeroesRecognizes servicemen/women from the Chesapeake region who lost their lives that year in the line of duty.

Baltimore, MD (February 21, 2014)- The American Red Cross of the Chesapeake Region is thrilled to announce the award recipients for the 2014 Hometown Heroes ceremony taking place Thursday, March 27, 2014 at The Lyric Opera House. This annual event, now in its 16th year, honors local community members who have made a philanthropic impact here in Maryland. The 2014 awardees are Alec Ross, Dr. Carnell Cooper, McCormick & Co. and Jessica Turral.

Alec Ross, former Senior Advisor of Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is the recipient of The Gene Williams Chairman’s Award for his leadership in the area of social justice. Ross began his career in Baltimore as a member of the Teach for America program and later created the breakthrough philanthropic program, text to donate, that raised $40 million worldwide for the earthquake in Haiti. Ross has received many accolades, including ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy Magazine, Huffington Post’s “10 Game Changers in Politics”, 2012 Tribeca Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Award honoree, the 2010 Middle East/North Africa Technology Person of the Year by the Union of Arab ICT organizations and the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award. He will also present the keynote address at the Hometown Heroes event.

The recipient of the Homeland Hero award for work within the public service sector that demonstrates an exceptional commitment to the mission and clients of the organization he serves is Dr. Carnell Cooper. Dr. Cooper is the Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and founder of Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. Dr. Cooper started in 1998 after noticing that victims of traumatic violent injury were being treated and released from the hospital but then readmitted months later due to another, often more serious, violent injury. Those who meet the program requirements receive assessment, counseling, and social support from a multi-disciplinary team to help make critical and positive changes in their lives.

McCormick & Company is the recipient of the Mission Partner Award, which honors an individual or organization that is making a direct, grassroots impact within the Chesapeake region. McCormick & Co. has been a dedicated supporter of the American Red Cross for more than 25 years. Since its inception, the employees, corporation and foundation have donated nearly $750,000 to the Red Cross Chesapeake Region. As an organization, they strive to empower their employees, encouraging them to be involved citizens and community members who understand the importance of working and living in a larger world. Their constant focus on being a great corporate citizen allows them to focus not only on their product, customers and employees, but their suppliers and the environment to ensure that they create sustainable future partnerships.

The Young Professionals Award is new for 2014 and honors an individual under the age of 40 who has made an impact in the area of social justice. The inaugural recipient is Jessica Turral. Turral is the founder of Hand in Hand Baltimore, a non-profit that partners with men under the age of 18 who have been incarcerated and charged as adults, providing them with mentors, counseling, academic enrichment and case management prior to and upon their release from adult facilities.

Red Cross of the Chesapeake Region will also recognize U.S. Army Captain Sara Knutson Cullen, who became one of Maryland’s Fallen Heroes while serving her country in Afghanistan. Captain Cullen was killed in a helicopter crash during a training mission on March 11, 2013. A 2007 graduate of West Point majoring in Law, she received the West Point Department of Law 2007 Command Sergeant Major Cornell W. Gilmore award, which is given to the cadet Law major who made the most significant contributions in the areas of International Law and the Law of War.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at Tickets are $125 and $100 of that is tax deductible. Attendees will be treated to heavy hors d’oeuvres from Biddle Street Catering and an open bar featuring wine from Boordy Vineyards and a beer selection from Peabody Heights Brewery. Interactive displays for Preparedness Health and Safety Services, Biomedical Services, Service to the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and more will be on hand to educate the public on all aspects of the Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross Chesapeake Region (visit website):
On average the American Red Cross of the Chesapeake Region provides help to Maryland families two to three times each day after disasters including emergency shelter, food, clothing and counseling thanks to major support from donors to the United Way campaigns in Maryland. Each day the Red Cross also provides lifesaving blood to area hospitals; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information or to donate, please visit or Tweet us @RedCrossMD.

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