Born and raised in Staten Island, Marrocco miraculously survived the loss of all his limbs during a 2009 direct-hit rocket attack while serving in Iraq. With the help of his brother Michael, Brendan is currently rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Award-winning sportscaster Bob Costas will deliver the keynote address and veteran newsman Jim Ryan will serve as master of ceremonies. Sports stars and celebrities, including former New York Giants stars Tiki Barber and Leonard Marshall, are expected to attend. New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira will present Brendan the award, crystal replica of DiMaggio’s bat.
The Joe DiMaggio Award was first presented by the Yankee Clipper himself in 1997 in a fundraising effort for the benefit of an innovative education program for the learning disabled at Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School. “Joe DiMaggio was committed to helping provide educational opportunities for those with special needs,” explained Salvatore Ferrera former president of the school and co-founder of the dinner.
In an effort to expand its reach and those opportunities a new partnership has been forged with HeartShare Human Services. HeartShare provides educational and human services to more than 25,000 children and families in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
HeartShare provides educational programs for school-age children between the ages of 5 and 21 with profound autism at The HeartShare School in Bensonhurst. It also expanded its programs to include a day habilitation program in Brooklyn and Staten Island for young adults with autism, and plans further expansion early next year with the opening of two residential facilities that are attached to the school.
“A lack of local programs has forced many in need of these services to seek help in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts. These new residences will allow them to come home and be with their families,” said HeartShare President and CEO William R. Guarinello.
“This is what Joe DiMaggio wanted to do. These are the children DiMaggio wanted to help,” said Ferrera. “The Joe DiMaggio Award and HeartShare make a perfect marriage.”
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Celebrating its 96th year, HeartShare is a nonprofit organization that assists more than 25,000 New Yorkers. Its wide array of services assist individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities through numerous programs including education services, adult day programs, residential services, case management, recreation programs, family support services, and health services. It also provides counseling, after-school programs and assistance with foster care and adoption to children and families, supports people affected by HIV/AIDS, and administers low-income energy assistance programs. For more information, visit www.heartshare.org or follow on Facebook or Twitter.