Thank you for joining us for the

22nd Annual Heroes Breakfast
Tuesday, May 14, 2024

For the past 22 years, we have honored individuals and groups for acts of immense bravery, dedication and service to the community. Thank you for helping us celebrate the 2024 Class of Heroes!


Honoring the 2024 Class of Heroes

Blood Services | Venisha Bonds & Chez Smith
Community Impact | Angela Thompson
Disaster Relief | Jacqueline Reed
Education | Steve & Sheila Conner
Firefighter | Firefighter/Paramedic Nicholas DeLeon
Global Citizenship | Nancy Economou
Healthcare | Patty Samar RN, BSN
Law Enforcement | Officer Kenneth Griffin
Lifesaving Rescue | Daniel Viayra Chavez & Joseph Elrod
Military | Fred M. Williams, Jr.
Social Justice Impact | Matt DeMateo
Youth | Declan Devlin, Tiernan Devlin, Tommy Nitti & Charles Valerio


Learn More about the 2024 Heroes

Make a gift in honor of a Hero

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Now through May 14, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $110,000

Thank you to our generous Inspiring Action sponsors
Make It Better Foundation
Edwardson Family Foundation
Patrick M. and Jennifer Gallagher

Learn how your gift supports the Red Cross mission

 Brett J. Hart | 2024 Heritage Award Recipient

  President, United Airlines

Brett J. Hart is president of United Airlines. During his decade at the airline, Brett has taken on some of the company's biggest leadership challenges - including serving as acting CEO in late 2015 and 2016. As president, Brett is responsible for United's global operations - flight, network operations, and safety - as well as all finance and corporate strategy functions. He leads United's external-facing teams including government affairs, corporate communications, legal, global community engagement and environmental sustainability.

A long-time resident of Chicago's South Side, Brett also has lent his counsel to his community. He serves on the boards of World Business Chicago, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, The Economic Club of Chicago, the University of Chicago, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, The Chicago Community Trust, the Innocence Project, the Obama Foundation Inclusion Council, the President's Board of Advisors on HBCUs and the President's Export Council.

Brett received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School. He and his wife, Dontrey, live in Hyde Park and have three sons.


Christine A. Leahy | 2024 Honorary Chair

Chair, President and CEO, CDW


CDW makes technology work, so people can do great things. Founded in 1984, CDW is a leading global technology solutions and services provider. We help businesses, government agencies, educational institutions and healthcare customers to use technology to innovate, optimize, and achieve their missions.

A 20-year veteran of CDW, Christine A. Leahy serves as chair, president and CEO. Prior to joining CDW in 2002, Chris was a partner in the law firm, Sidley Austin. Chris is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College School of Law.

Chris's sense of heartfelt responsibility and belief in a few cornerstone values - hunger, humility and honesty - were cultivated around the dinner table as she grew up in a large, entrepreneurial family. She has long been a champion for inclusion, empowerment and equity. Chris serves on the Board of Directors for Target Corporation, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Junior Achievement of Chicago and Children's Home + Aid.


Joe Donlon | CBS News Chicago | Emcee

Emmy-winning journalist Joe Donlon is co-anchor of CBS News Chicago's weeknight 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts with Irika Sargent. Donlon has more than 35 years of experience on the anchor desk and has reported on major news events including elections, political conventions, inaugurations, sports championships, rallies and protests. Donlon has previously served as a lead anchor at WGN-TV from 2018-20. While there, he anchored the No. 1 primetime newscast in the Chicago market. Donlon most recently helped launch the cable news network "NewsNation," where he served as an anchor and host of "The Donlon Report." "I am humbled, grateful, and excited for the opportunity to join the award-winning team at CBS2," said Donlon. "I love Chicago and have always felt a connection with the people here. This is home. There is no place I would rather be." Prior to working at WGN, Donlon was the No. 1 anchor in Portland, Oregon, where he served as main anchor for 21 years. He also served as main anchor in Tucson, Arizona and Corpus Christi, Texas.



Irika Sargent | CBS News Chicago | Emcee

Irika Sargent anchors the CBS News Chicago weekday evening news at 5, 6, and 10 p.m. Irika Sargent's anchoring and reporting has garnered multiple Emmy Awards and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

She joined CBS 2 Chicago in 2015 from CBS Miami, where she anchored the station's weekday evening news at 5 and 11 p.m. She also anchored the station's public affairs show, Focus on South Florida, and contributed a weekly legal news segment, Legally Speaking.

Prior to that, Sargent was an anchor and reporter with KPRC-TV in Houston. She also worked in Mobile, Alabama, at WPMI-TV as the anchor of a legal show and a reporter for the evening newscasts.

Sargent graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. She then earned a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School because she wanted to gain legal insight and expertise that could assist her in news coverage. While studying law, Sargent was an editor for the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. She was also a writer and editor for the Legal Information Institute focusing on cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sargent practiced labor and employment law for four years in New York City at Greenberg Traurig. She represented clients in New York federal and state courts, as well as before the New York Division of Human Rights and National Labor Relations Board. While in New York, Sargent also set aside time to provide free legal services to those in need. She is a registered member of the New York Bar and has maintained active status for more than 15 years. She is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Throughout her journalism and legal careers, Sargent has been committed to helping many non-profit organizations including the Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Habitat for Humanity, Haymarket Center, American Red Cross, Easterseals, 100 Black Men of Chicago, Alzheimer's Association and American Cancer Society. She serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago Children's Advocacy Center.

She resides in Chicago with her husband and daughter.

Red Cross of Greater Chicago Donors & Leadership


Red Cross Leadership  Greater Chicago Board of Directors


The Heroes Breakfast event artwork is by was created by Damon Lamar Reed, a Chicago-based artist and entrepreneur who has created over 400 public art projects.

Learn more about Damon and his work

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