The Shields of Honor Gala, an event honoring first responders, was held on November 3 at Ventosa Vineyards in Geneva, drawing more than 300 attendees and raising $40,000 for the local fire and police departments.
Organized by Ray Ciancaglini and his Second Impact organization, the Gala combined two separate fundraisers held last year into a single event this year. The funds raised will enable the police department to invest in a new K9 dog and the fire department to purchase state-of-the-art fire suits, continuing the trend of enhancing their equipment and capabilities.
The event was marked by a series of speeches that received standing ovations, praising the dedication and importance of first responders. Ciancaglini, who organized the Gala with a committee of volunteers, emphasized the critical role of police and firefighters, likening them to seat belts that provide unseen but essential protection. Erika VanSavage, who has personal ties to law enforcement, served as the MC for the evening. The speaker lineup included State Sen. Pam Helming, State Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan, and local government and law enforcement leaders.
The Gala also featured a live auction conducted by auctioneer Mike Rusinko, which alone brought in $16,000. Items auctioned included a Josh Allen-signed NFL football, a signed Hobart College football helmet, and special tribute rifles, reflecting the community’s strong support for first responders. Ray Ciancaglini, a former professional boxer now battling Parkinson’s Syndrome and CTE due to untreated concussions, founded Second Impact to raise awareness about concussion symptoms and support first responders.
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