John Foy is a retired plumbing contractor from Greece, New York. He grew up in Charlotte and graduated from Charlotte High School in 1943. John enlisted in the Army’s Specialized Training Program for high IQ soldiers and was sent to Cornell University, where he completed his first year of college in just four months. Shortly thereafter, the Army decided they needed infantrymen more than engineers; John was sent to infantry training, and was assigned to the 87th Infantry Division, which joined General George Patton’s Third Army in the liberation of Europe.
Geri Spino is a proud native of Rochester. Tragically, in 2004, her son Scott was struck and killed by a repeat drunk driving offender. Scott’s passing was a monumental loss for the entire Spino family. Since her retirement from Excellus Blue Cross and Blue Shield five years ago, Ms. Spino has dedicated her time to serving as President of the Scott Spino Foundation, which was established in loving memory of her son, Scott, and is focused on supporting programs that provide education, coaching and mentoring to children within the community. It is through this support that the foundation’s board of directors, members and volunteers contribute to the goal of investing in today’s youth and enhancing tomorrow’s future.
Ray Melens, a native of Rochester, graduated from Greece Arcadia High School in 1968. Following in his father’s and stepfather’s footsteps, who both served in the United States Armed Forces, Ray enlisted in the Marine Corps and was sent to South Vietnam. Seriously injured during his tour of duty, Ray received an honorable discharge. For his service, Ray earned a National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Unit citations and the New York State Medal for Merit.
The Fedele family, like millions of other American families, responded to their country’s needs during World War II. Except that, unlike every other family, the Fedeles sent eight brothers off to war. This was the record for the most men from one family to serve in a foreign war at the same time.
Hilda Rosario Escher is president and CEO of Ibero American Action League. She has 25 years of experience in the human services sector and brings the perspective of a minority female with an innovative approach.
As president and CEO, she is the voice of the Rochester Hispanic Community. Ms. Escher focuses her efforts on strategic planning, developing leaders in her organization and being an agent of change to lead innovation. Since 1968, Ibero-American Action League has taken a leadership role in nurturing partnerships, services, and advocacy among the community to meet the needs of Latinos in the Rochester area.
Ken Moore has spent his life dedicated to protecting and honoring our military personnel. Ken Moore was born and raised in Rochester, NY (Charlotte). After graduating from high school, he worked for both the City of Rochester and the Eastman Kodak Company before being drafted for duty in the US Army in November of 1965. After basic training at Fort Dix and Fort Benning, he was deployed to the Republic of South Vietnam with D Troop 17th Cavalry. He returned to the United States in November of 1967.
As Monroe Community College’s fifth president, Dr. Anne M. Kress leads a nationally recognized, multi-campus college that enrolls more than 37,000 students each year. Since beginning her tenure at MCC in 2009, she has elevated the college’s role in several key areas— readiness for college, college completion, workforce development, diversity and sustainability—to better serve the needs of students and the community.
Sergeant Gary Beikirch, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, truly embodies the military’s teaching of the value and significance of service to others above self. He feels that the most personally satisfying contribution of his life has been to impact and instill the truth of this ideal to our young people.