MC DeMarco Morgan, State Senator Eric Adams, Honorable Walter T. Mosley III, Esq.

*One of the standout events held during this year’s remarkable Black History Month celebration was the One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of New York City (OHBMNY) 30th annual benefit gala at the New York Hilton grand ballroom on Thursday, February 25, 2010 that raised a record $659,000.  DeMarco Morgan, anchor and reporter, WNBC4-NY, served as an outstanding Master of Ceremonies.

Audrey J. Bernard

The event was attended by 500 radiant black tie guests and a record number of politicians including Senator Eric Adams, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, Governor David A. Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli, former New York City Comptroller William Thompson, New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and District Leader Walter T. Mosley III, Esq.

The memorable event was a pre-cursor to the White House Bipartisan Meeting on Health Reform that came to a climatic vote of approval on Sunday, March 21, 2010.  The historic medical reform bill revolutionizes health care in this country and is considered President Barack Obama’s greatest victory since his election to office.

Dinner Chair Paul Busby, OHBMNY President Philip Banks, Jr., Eagle Academy Senior Odell Patterson, Honoree Dr. John Agwunobi and Dinner Co-Chair Craig Simmons

The OHBM organization has always been a step above the rest and once again proved that statement right by using their annual event to honor health care leaders.  Themed “Restoring Health & Building Bridges,” the event honored three exceptional visionary and influential leaders hell-bent on restoring health to our community.

Member of the Year Errol Pierre

Dr. John Agwunobi, senior vice president & president, Walmart Health & Wellness with the distinguished service award;

Dr. Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., M.S., B.S., Founding Dean, School of Public Health, City University of New York, Hunter College with the distinguished physician community service award; and

Mark Wagar, president, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, with the corporate citizen award.  In addition to the honorees, Errol Pierre, a sales manager at Empire BlueCross BlueShield was saluted as mentor of the year.

“I am delighted to recognize the importance of restoring health to our community by honoring three truly visionary and influential leaders at our 30th annual benefit gala, Dr. John Agwunonbi,  Dr. Kenneth Olden, and Mark Wagar, ” said OHBMNY president Philip L. Banks Jr.

“Tonight we shine a spotlight on the health issues in our community. As we celebrate more than four decades of achievement, One Hundred Black Men, Inc. is delighted to award the accomplishments of these outstanding men,” Banks added.

Paul Busby was gala chairman and the benefit committee members included Philip L. Banks, Terrence Banks, Horace Barker, Glenis Frank, David P. Brand, Will Brown, Rudy Ceres, Mark Getachew, Fitzgerald Miller, R. Donahue Peebles, Craig Simmons, Hilton O. Smith and Howard Watts.

“I’m deeply appreciative of and would also like to thank all of our contributors and sponsors whose continued generosity will assist One Hundred Black Men to reach our communities and develop programs like the Eagle Academy Schools, our mentoring and scholarships,” said Busby.

“I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Craig Simmons, Glenis Frank, the members of our gala committee, and other volunteers who devoted their precious time to coordinating this gala,” Busby concluded.

OHBMNY Member David Brand, Honoree Dr. Kenneth Olden, Dinner Chair Paul Busby

OHBMNY thanks its partners for their support of the outstanding annual benefit including: Bloomberg, LP, News Corporation, Walmart (diamond); Empire BlueCross BlueShield (platinum); Con Edison, CUNY, Democrats for Education Reform, New York Life Insurance (bronze); Coke Enterprises, Continuum Health Partners, Entergy, Macy’s, Miller Coors, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYSE Euronext, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Pepsi, Turner Construction, United Federation of Teachers, UPS, US Army (patron); and TD Bank, Turner Construction, Uptown Magazine, Williams Capital (contributor).

One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of New York City was founded in 1963 when a group of successful African American men, including Judge Robert Mangum, David N. Dinkins and businessman J. Bruce Llewellyn, came together to pool their resources to positively impact the Black community.

The distinguished organization’s service projects focus on mentoring, education, health and wellness, and economic development.  The organization has a long and successful history working with its corporate and community partners to make significant differences in the lives of the communities it serves.

Two celebrated examples are the establishment of The Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx and in Brooklyn, each with a focus on academic excellence, leadership and character development.  (Photos by Audrey J. Bernard and Margot Jordan)

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.