Two student triathletes, two business leaders, a lifelong Y-legend and a First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge were honored for their ongoing and inspirational leadership at the third annual Y-Heroes celebration at the Rhode Island Convention Center on April 23rd. The event brought nearly 800 people together – including U. S. Senator Jack Reed, New England Patriots Fullback James Devlin, and keynote speaker the Honorable Bruce Selya – to recognize the 2019 Y-Heroes and to connect over a shared passion of supporting the community. Money raised from the event supports the Greater Providence YMCA mission of improving the health and well-being of children and families in our communities.
“We are humbled and inspired by the outpouring of support from so many corners of our community. We are proud to have these amazing heroes on our team,” said Steven G. O’Donnell, CEO, Greater Providence YMCA. “While this event formally honors the remarkable achievements of a select few, every day we are inspired by the many dedicated donors, nonprofits and community partners that play a vital role in advancing our mission.”
This is the first time young student triathletes were selected as Y-Heroes. Abby Butlin, a 7th grader at the Wheeler School, and Finn Pansa, a 5th grader at Guiteras Elementary in Bristol, were both recognized for their devotion to helping others –including their participation in the Race4Chase triathlon benefiting the CMAK Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to remembering Chase Kowalski, the students and educators of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
The Y was pleased to recognize, Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson who was the first African- American and second woman to serve on the First Circuit United State Court of Appeals. An inspirational leader and role model, Judge Thompson has a deep understanding of the community and a deep commitment to fairness and balance.
Businessman and passionate philanthropist Edward Medeiros, CEO of East Commerce Solutions was recognized for his broad and enduring commitment to charitable causes from creating a special scholarship fund to organizing a Thanksgiving turkey run that has fed 20,000 families. He supports numerous charities and is committed to the YMCA’s mission of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.
Y-Hero Peter Marino, President & CEO of Neighborhood Health has devoted not only his personal talents to the Y but also the power of Neighborhood Health’s complementary mission to improve the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders.
A lifelong Y legend, Stephen Palmer was honored as a 2019 Y-Hero. Stephen began his affiliation with the Y at age seven and his life has been intertwined with the YMCA ever since. He served nationally and internationally as a Y advocate uniting thousands under the Y movement. He served as the chairman of both the Greater Providence YMCA and the Y USA Board of Directors.