SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The first annual John Walsh Award in the Capital Region was awarded Thursday night at the 6th Annual Halloween Masquerade Ball benefitting the Capital Region Office of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children/New York Branch.
This year, the Capital Region's first-ever John Walsh Award was presented to Michael Giovanone, President and CEO of Concord Pools and Spas. The civilian award recognizes an individual who has exhibited a long-standing and significant impact on NCMEC's mission to prevent the abduction and exploitation of children in the Capital Region. This is the first year that the award is being given locally.
"There are many dedicated people we considered for our inaugural John Walsh Award," said Sam Palazzole, Chair of the Capital Region NCMEC Board of Advisors, "but Mike Giovanone has consistently proven his commitment to the protection of children in the 11 counties we serve. He was the obvious choice to receive the very first John Walsh Award in the Capital Region, and we give it with our deepest gratitude for his generosity and leadership since the very beginning. He is an example to us all."
Giovanone has been a benefactor and supporter of NCMEC's local efforts from its inception here in 2008. He is a founding member of NCMEC's Capital Region Advisory Board, an active solicitor for the organization's fundraising efforts, and a very generous contributor of his time and money. He consistently helps to raise community awareness of NCMEC's mission and has shown tremendous dedication to the protection of children.
The annual Halloween fundraising event is dedicated to supporting the recovery and prevention work of a myriad of law enforcement and other professionals locally and around the state who work on missing children cases specific to the 11 counties of the Capital Region, including Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties.
Approximately 2,300 children are reported missing in the Capital Region every year, and over 20,000 children in New York State. NCMEC's recovery rate is 97.5 percent, up from 62 percent in 1990.