Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner, Time Warner Cable and the United Ways of Western New York presented awards to the winners of the prestigious 2009 WNY Heroes Awards at a luncheon in downtown Buffalo's Statler Tower's ballroom on November 17.
Winners received a golden statuette and a $2,500 donation from Time Warner Cable for their charity. The winners were chosen from 15 finalists, in five categories, by the public via online voting. More than 26,000 online votes were cast during September and October.
The 2009 WNY Heroes Awards honorees include:
• Advancing Artists - Robby Takac (Music Is Art)
• Community Fixer - Miriam Smith (Equi*Star, Inc.)
• Education Leader - Sr. Geraldine Warthling, OSF (The Warde Center)
• Minor Miracle Worker [presented by the Buffalo Bills] - Lexi Keller (of Lockport)
• Senior Star - Jerry Mosey (of Lewiston)
The Minor Miracle Worker award was presented by Hangartner to Lexi Keller, 9, from Lockport. She has undergone two open heart surgeries and received a life-saving heart transplant. Lexi serves as the face of and speaks on behalf of Upstate New York Transplant Services at local schools, hospitals, blood drives and community events to encourage organ and blood donations.
"The Bills are proud to recognize the outstanding youth in our community with this special Minor Miracle award," said Bruce Popko, Bills senior vice president of business ventures. "We are excited to partner with Time Warner Cable and honor those youth that are true heroes in Western New York. Congratulations to Lexi and all of the honorees!"
"Time Warner Cable is proud to honor each of this year's WNY Heroes Awards recipients for their tireless efforts in giving back to our community," said Terence Rafferty, Regional Vice President of Operations, Time Warner Cable WNY. "The Awards give us a chance to recognize the outstanding individuals that our community has identified as their heroes. In addition, they foster the spirit of service and volunteerism that these finalists live each and every day."
The individuals being honored here today are a true testament to the compassionate spirit of the Western New York community," said Michael Weiner, President of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. "My hope is that their incredible dedication and hard work on the behalf of others inspires others to help others through volunteerism."
Viewers can watch the awards ceremony on Time Warner Cable's WNY On Demand, channel 997. For more information on this year's Awards winners, visit www.timewarnercable.com/wny.