Michael Giovanone, president and CEO of
Concord Pools and Spas in Saratoga Springs,
received the first John Walsh Award in the
Capital Region in October at the sixth annual
Halloween Masquerade Ball benefitting the
Capital Region office of the National Center
for Missing and Exploited Children/New York
Branch (NCMEC). It was held at Prime at
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 was given locally.
The award is named after John E. Walsh ,
a criminal investigator, victim rights advocate
and the host, as well as creator, of the television
show “America’s Most Wanted.”
Sam Palazzole, chairman of the Capital Region NCMEC board of advisors, said Giovanone “has consistently proven his commitment to the protection of children in the 11 counties we serve. He was the obvious choice … for his generosity and leadership since the very beginning. He is an example to us all.”
Giovanone is a benefactor and supporter of NCMEC’s local efforts since its inception in 2008. He is a founding member of NCMEC’s Capital Region Advisory Board and consistently helps to raise community awareness of NCMEC’s mission .
The award event’s keynote speaker was Lt. Laura Emanatian, an investigator with the Saratha Springs Police Department and the PBA’s 2012 Officer of the Year. She focuses on crimes against children.
All proceeds from the evening benefit NCMEC, whose mission is to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation; help find missing children; and assist victims of abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them. The 11 counties of the Capital Region include Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington.
According to NCMEC, 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.
The local NCMEC office conducts education programs for several thousand area children, typically in conjunction with local schools.
The office participates in law enforcement trainings for hundreds of law enforcement officers, and, using the Child ID kit that was purchased through the generosity of Price Chopper, the office has fingerprinted and photographed hundreds of children throughout the region’s 11 counties while providing safety information to them and their parents.
Photo Courtesy of Concord Pools and Spas