Modest HeroesISC East 2008 was held in a moderately soggy, but nonetheless dynamic Big Apple. The expo and conference were not only well-attended but, true to form, served as the scene for many industry events which were uplifting to both security professionals and to the all-important security industry image itself.
The ISC East keynote speaker was former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who always reminds this native New Yorker of those fearful, fateful days surrounding 9/11, when the whole world had a bittersweet, renewed focus on all things security – where a newfound priority swept the nation in our search to secure not only the U.S. homeland, but individual households and businesses.
Giuliani spoke eloquently and impassioned as he recounted those times, the current state of the nation, and its improved security measures now in place and those still needed. I couldn’t help but feel proud to be a part of the industry that the entire country turned to, to regain peace-of-mind, an increasingly valuable commodity in these turbulent economic times.
On the first evening of ISC East, October 29, the 2008 Tri-Association Awards Dinner was held in Chelsea Pier’s Lighthouse restaurant. A portion of the proceeds for this gala was donated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), and in attendance – in body and spirit – were many who were directly impacted by losses suffered on September 11, 2001. Family and friends of fallen firefighters took the podium at the gala, speaking heartfelt words regarding the impact of those events and the importance of security and our industry. These touching and often uplifting testaments culminated in a moving presentation of a large donation from the three associations to benefit the ongoing good works of the NFFF, created by Congress in 1992 to honor and prevent line-of-duty firefighters’ deaths and support their families in all ways possible.
As the carnival-themed evening continued, the gala program honored Dean Russo with the prestigious George R. Lippert Award and Ron Spiller with the 2008 Triton Award.
For those who don’t have the pleasure of knowing Ron, he is an industry icon, and a warm and caring man who is continually joining and championing charitable industry causes in a light-hearted, but meaningful way. Ron, with lovely wife Rainy, omnipresent at his side, has spent the vast majority of his career in security and served as both the president and executive director of SIA, during which time he formed the SAINTS foundation (Safety and Independence now Through Security), wherein the industry became active not only in rebuilding arson-impacted churches, but also in creating secure housing in crime-prone areas with Habitat for Humanity.
CASA, based in his home state of California, is another worthy organization in which Ron is active. It is an advocacy group for children in trouble with the law.
Ron is also part of Mission 500, a charitable organization formed in April 2007. Mission 500 (www.mission500.org) defines itself as “The Security Industry’s Response to Children in Crisis.” It is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of children and communities in crisis. Uniquely, Mission 500 is entirely comprised of security industry veterans, including other icons, Les Gold, Andrea Ferrando, Alan Forman, Richard Hahn, Marc Mineau, Craig Robinson and George Fletcher, all of whom volunteer and drive the organization.
We can all do well in seconding that cause and congratulating these security industry good guys in their goal of “giving something back” to their community by supporting worthy children and “our community” â€” the security industry at large.