On May 6, 2013, three women — Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — were rescued from their abductor’s Cleveland home, where they had been held captive for years and subjected to unspeakable abuse. One after the other, between 2002 and 2004, Ariel Castro targeted first Michelle, then Amanda, then Georgina by offering them a ride. He then drove each of them to his home several miles away and held them against their will for years. No one even knew they were there.
On May 6, 2013, Amanda realized that Castro had failed to lock the home's "big inside door," and she took a big risk and screamed for help at passersby through the bolted storm door. A hole was kicked through the front door, and the three young women, along with Amanda's 6-year-old daughter, who was born in captivity, were finally rescued from their prison.
Amanda and Georgina, who were children when they were captured, will receive NCMEC's 2014 Hope Award for their tremendous courage and resilience and for giving hope to so many families still searching for their children. Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder and was sentenced to prison with no chance of parole. One month into his sentence, he hanged himself with bedsheets in his cell. His house of horrors was torn down.
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and his wife Tanya are recognized as some of the Washington area's most prominent community leaders. Their philanthropic support enabled construction of the Daniel M. Snyder and Family Communication Center at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Since its inception, it has received more than 3.8 million calls from law enforcement organizations, parents of missing children, runaways seeking help and people responding to the center's well-known awareness campaigns on behalf of missing and exploited children.
The Snyder's support ranges from the Larry King Heart Foundation, the American Cancer Society and Washington's Children’s Hospital, where they built the Snyder Family Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center.
After he purchased the team, Dan Snyder founded the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, which utilizes the assets of the Washington Redskins and its corporate and community partners to make a positive and measurable impact on youth development in the greater Washington, D.C., region in the areas of education, community outreach and health and wellness.
The Foundation has impacted millions of children by contributing $15 million for programs, services and grants to individuals, groups and organizations.
In March 2014, the Snyders established the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, providing resources that create opportunities for tribal communities across the United States.
When David Goldman dropped his family off at the airport in June 2004 to embark on a two-week vacation in Brazil, he had no idea what the next six years would entail.
A few days after arriving, David's wife called to inform him that their marriage was over and that she was keeping their son, Sean, with her in Brazil.
Sean's abduction was a clear violation of the Hague Child Abduction treaty signed by both countries. Yet Brazil's courts refused to return him, even after his mother died tragically in 2008. David's access to Sean was minimal and as the years wore on, Sean grew confused about why his father was not in his life. Meanwhile, his brokenhearted father worked tirelessly, from thousands of miles away, to bring his son home.
David never lost hope that he and Sean would be reunited. Thanks to media attention in both countries and coverage on NBC that included a very caring journalist — Meredith Vieira — the case caught the attention of New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, whose involvement marked a turning point. From there, the case moved forward while bringing national attention to the issue of international child abduction. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the Goldman's case as part of her diplomatic duties, noting Brazil’s obligations under the Hague Convention, and President Barack Obama discussed the case on David's behalf when Brazil's president visited Washington, D.C.
Finally, after a long battle, Sean was finally returned to David. It had been more than five years. At long-last, David and Sean finally restarted their life together on Christmas Eve 2009.
After Sean's abduction, David and friends created a foundation to help bring Sean home. Though the movement originally formed as a grassroots, international campaign to return Sean to his father, the Bring Sean Home Foundation has since expanded to assist other parents in similar situations. As a co-founder and director, David Goldman works with victims of international child abduction, speaking publicly on the issue and advocating for parents whose children have been abducted internationally.
Today, David and Sean — now a teenager — value life as father and son and are surrounded by grandparents, cousins, siblings and other loving friends and family.
Fourteen-time Emmy Award winner Meredith Vieira will host her new nationally syndicated daytime show, "The Meredith Vieira Show," starting in September. Currently, Vieira serves as a special correspondent for NBC News programming, including "Today" and the "“NBC Nightly News," and serves as producer and correspondent for "Meredith Vieira Specials," a series of hour-long prime-time shows.
Vieira joined "Today" in September 2006 as co-anchor and was immediately accepted into the ranks of America's first television family. During her five years at "Today," Vieira played a key role in covering the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with exclusive interviews with athletes and medalists. Vieira recently co-hosted the opening ceremonies and anchored NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
It was Vieira's January 2009 "Dateline" series about David Goldman's fight to bring his son Sean home from Brazil that helped give the story full national exposure and brought attention to the issue of international child abduction. U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, from the Goldmans' home state of New Jersey, saw Vieira's powerful special and got involved — eventually accompanying David Goldman to Brazil. Vieira followed the Goldmans' story until the father and son were reunited, sharing updates on their life and the work they do to help other families bring their children home.
Vieira won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host in 2005 and 2009 for the nationally syndicated game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," which she has hosted for 11 seasons. From 1997 to 2006, Vieira served as moderator of ABC’s "The View."
Vieira is involved with several charitable organizations, including the New York chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, serving on its Board of Directors. She has three children with her husband, best-selling author and journalist, Richard Cohen.
With 50 years in public service, the last 12 as police commissioner of the City of New York, Raymond W. Kelly is one of the world's most well-known and highly esteemed leaders in law enforcement. Kelly was appointed police commissioner in January 2002 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, making Commissioner Kelly the first person to hold the post for a second, separate tenure. He also served as police commissioner under Mayor David N. Dinkins from 1992-94.
Throughout his career, Commissioner Kelly has been a vital supporter of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the search for missing children. Kelly reignited the search for 6-year-old Etan Patz, whose abduction more than three decades ago helped bring national attention to the plight of missing children, which ultimately led to the creation of NCMEC. He earned a legacy as a "hands-on leader" in cases of critically missing children, most recently directing the exhaustive search in New York for Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with autism last seen on a surveillance video leaving his school. It was one of the most extensive searches ever conducted for a missing child in our nation’s history.
In 2002, Commissioner Kelly created the first counterterrorism bureau of any municipal police department in the country. He also established a new global intelligence program and stationed New York City detectives in 11 foreign cities. Despite dedicating extensive resources to preventing another terrorist attack, the NYPD has driven violent crime down by 40 percent from 2001 levels. Commissioner Kelly also established a Real Time Crime Center, a state-of-the-art facility searching millions of computer records and putting investigative leads into the hands of detectives in the field.
A 43-year veteran of the NYPD, Commissioner Kelly served in 25 different commands before being named police commissioner. He was appointed to the New York City Police Department in 1963. Shortly thereafter he accepted a commission to the United States Marine Corps Officer Program. He served on active military duty for three years, including a combat tour in Vietnam. He returned to the police department in 1966 and entered the New York City Police Academy. He was also a member of the inaugural class of the New York City Police Cadet Corps for three years while a student at Manhattan College. Commissioner Kelly retired as a colonel from the Marine Corps Reserves after 30 years of service.
Temar Boggs, 15, and Chris Garcia, 13, were helping a friend move a couch in Lancaster, Pa., on July 11, 2013, when they heard that a 5-year-old girl had been abducted from her grandmother's front yard nearby. Temar and Chris jumped on their bikes and joined the frantic search for Jocelyn Rojas.
After about half an hour, the two boys spotted the abductor's vehicle and began chasing it on their bikes. The driver got spooked, tossed Jocelyn out of the van and sped away. Temar carried the frightened child on his shoulders, and the two boys took her home to her grateful family.
The boys' swift and brave actions brought Jocelyn home safely and led to the arrest of the suspect. They don't see themselves as heroes -- just regular teens who did what anyone would do in that situation.
After their story hit the media, people across the nation cheered the boys and created scholarship funds for them. They have big plans for the future. Temar is part of "Hip Hop Against Violence," a youth group seeking to eliminate violence from hip hop music. He plans to study graphic design. Chris loves music and plays the drums in his spare time. After graduating from high school, he wants to study drawing to become an artist. He plans to try out for the track team next year at school.
Award-winning actor John O'Hurley is equally fluent in the world of entertainment and business. He has become one of television's busiest and most versatile actors and hosts, a Broadway star, an advertising hero, a New York Times best-selling author and Billboard chart-topping composer. O’Hurley is best known for his role as "J. Peterman" on “Seinfeld," which is now the No. 1 syndicated show in the world and can be seen in 85 countries. O'Hurley won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work on “Seinfeld." It was O'Hurley’s unique portrayal of the wry and witty "J. Peterman" that led to dozens of advertising campaigns for companies such as Xerox and the Travel Channel, earning him multiple advertising and marketing industry awards. O'Hurley reappeared in primetime in 2005, capturing America's heart with his turn on the first season of "Dancing with the Stars," where he officially won the series after a highly contested dance-off. He was also named one of "People" magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive."
After a three-year stint hosting the USA Network's "Get Golf with the PGA Tour," O'Hurley is now the regular host of NBC Sports highest-rated yearly show, "The National Dog Show Presented by Purina," a Thanksgiving tradition to 22 million viewers. He was also host of the popular game shows "Family Feud" and "To Tell The Truth." Now, life is imitating art as O'Hurley is a business partner with the J. Peterman Company, along with the real J. Peterman.
His unusual versatility as both entertainer and businessman was the focus of many features in magazines such as "Business Week" and "Time." Aside from his position as part-owner of the J. Peterman Company, he is a principal partner in six companies, most notably Energy-Inc., a unique waste-to-energy technology, and PoliteView, a unique online delivery platform used extensively by the U.S. government, the United Nations, and many Fortune 500 corporations and airlines.
He lives in Beverly Hills, Calif., with his wife, Lisa, and their son, William.
Joe Gibbs is the three-time Super Bowl-winning former coach of the Washington Redskins and a NASCAR Championship team owner. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 as one of the winningest coaches in NFL history.
Gibbs founded Youth For Tomorrow, which provides safe and healthy residences for boys and girls ages 11-18 in Bristow, Va. Since 1986, Youth For Tomorrow has helped more than 1,000 children.
Gibbs is now walking the sidelines in Huntersville, N.C., where he's coaching his grandson's eight-man football team on fall weekends. He and his wife, Pat, currently reside in North Carolina and enjoy spending time with all eight of their grandchildren.
John and Revé Walsh co-founded the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the aftermath of the tragic abduction and murder of their 6-year-old son, Adam. Determined to give families the help that wasn't available to them, they turned their grief into advocacy, which was a driving force behind the creation of the National Center. After NCMEC's creation, the Walshes were given another opportunity to fight back with John hosting the nation's first crime-busting TV show, "America’s Most Wanted," which aired for 25 years and helped bring more than 1,200 criminals to justice and helped recover more than 30 missing children.
John's been the driving force behind major pieces of child protection legislation. His hard work led to him being honored five times by four presidents: Ronald Reagan (twice), George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
On July 27, 2006 – 25 years to the day since Adam's abduction – at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden and with the Walshes present, President George W. Bush signed a new, resolute law to track and apprehend convicted sex offenders who disappear after their release from prison: The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. July 27 is now a bittersweet day for the Walshes: It's a date that marks the worst day of their lives in 1981, but also a day that brings hope to families who seek justice and answers, because of the law named in memory of their son.
The entertainment industry has also recognized John's contributions to television. In 2011, John received the prestigious Governor's Award at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. That same year, John was recognized by AFTRA as the recipient of the Foundation's AMEE Award in Entertainment.
John and Revé raised three more children after Adam: Meghan, Callahan and Hayden, and are now relishing their new role as proud grandparents. John and Revé continue to fight for victims' rights and for justice throughout the United States and wherever children or crime victims are in need.
Joe Ehrmann has been an educator, author, activist, pastor and coach for more than 25 years. Joe was an All-American football player at Syracuse University, lettered in lacrosse and was selected to the Syracuse All-Century Football Team. He played professional football for 13 years and was named the Colts Man of the Year and was the NFL’s first Ed Block Courage Award winner. Parade Magazine featured him on its cover, naming him The Most Important Coach in America because of his work to transform the culture of sports. In addition, he was selected as one of the Most Influential Sport Educators in America by the Institute for International Sport.
Ehrmann is co-founder of Baltimore’s Ronald McDonald House and was chosen by the Baltimore Business Journalas the Renaissance Person of the Decade for his dedication and commitment to Baltimore’s betterment. He co-founded The Door, a community-based organization that addresses issues of poverty, systemic racism and social justice.
Other honors include being the National Fatherhood Initiative’s Man of the Year for his work in improving the well-being of children by helping fathers become more involved, responsible and committed to their children. Ehrmann was awarded the Frederick Douglass National Man of the Year for empowering youth to prevent rape and other forms of male violence.
His revolutionary concepts of transformational leadership, coaching, team-building and mentoring are the subject of his newly released book, "InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives."Ehrmann is the subject of The New York Times Best Seller "Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood."
Ehrmann and his wife, Paula, have four children.
Charles B. Wang founded Computer Associates International in 1976 and served as its chairman of the board until 2002. His leadership transformed the company into a global company with an array of eBusiness solutions.
Wang owns the New York Islanders Hockey Club of the NHL and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders’ minor league affiliate. He is a philanthropist and avid supporter of children’s causes. He is on the National Advisory Board for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
A generous contribution from Wang helped establish the Charles B. Wang International Children’s Building, which serves as the organization’s headquarters.
Robbie Callaway is senior vice president at FirstPic Inc., a strategic consulting firm specializing in youth services. In this role, Callaway continues his life-long advocacy for disadvantaged children and continues to play a pivotal role in the development and passage of national legislation critical to child safety. Legislation that Callaway fought for includes the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, national AMBER Alert legislation, and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act — the legislation that created the national sex offender registry in 2006.
Callaway is a founding board member and past chairman of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Since 1981, Callaway's worked side-by-side with NCMEC co-founder and long-time "America’s Most Wanted" host John Walsh to get many pieces of legislation passed. Their work in the 1980s led to passage of the Missing Children's Act in 1982 and the Missing Children’s Assistance Act in 1984 – which led to the creation of NCMEC. Callaway currently serves as a NCMEC board member.
During his 24-year career at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Callaway led a team that raised more than $1 billion for the organization. Callaway was also instrumental in expanding the number of clubs in public housing communities from 25 to more than 450 and was the driving force in its expansion into more than 220 Native American communities.
Callaway is also the immediate past chairman of the board of directors of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, an organization committed to serving youth nationwide through character building programs. He received his Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from the University of Maryland. Callaway and his wife Sue have been married for 33 years and have four children and four grandchildren.