The Brave of Heart Fund was founded to provide financial support to the families of frontline healthcare workers and volunteers who lose their lives in the COVID-19 fight. The Fund, created by the Foundations of New York Life and Cigna, industry-leading insurance and health service organizations, respectively, honors the families of these fallen heroes by providing eligible family members with cash grants. In addition, Cigna provides behavioral health services to help alleviate the emotional hardships they are enduring at this time
New York Life partnered with The Guardian to tell the stories of three Brave of Heart Fund grant recipients. Since the beginning of the pandemic, The Guardian has recognized healthcare heroes who have died in the fight against COVID-19 in its series Lost on the Frontline, so they were an ideal partner to visually document these tragic stories.
New York Life also worked with E4E Relief, a disaster relief-focused subsidiary of Foundation for the Carolinas, a Section 501(c)(3) public charity which is responsible for administering the Brave of Heart Fund grants, to find recipients who would share their stories to help raise awareness about the Fund. Through episodes featuring Mark Alexander, Shana Konek, and Debbie Meltzer, the loved ones left behind, viewers will learn more about these healthcare heroes who died selflessly serving others and how the Brave of Heart Fund helped their families. To date, the Fund has issued more than 400 charitable grants to eligible families totaling over $8.9 million.
Episode 1: Jeremy Emerich, a critical care and transport EMT and firefighter from Pennsylvania. The father, critical care EMT, firefighter and veteran made a deep impact on his community. In the video, we hear from Emerich's partner and fellow healthcare worker, Shana Konek, on how she's navigating this trying time and honoring his memory.
Episode 2: Adrienne Alexander, a wife, mother, and frontline worker. Adrienne worked in project management at Texas Children’s Hospital for over 15 years. The hospital community greatly admired her positivity, professionalism, and fun-loving nature. In the video, we remember Adrienne through the eyes of her husband of nearly two decades, Mark, a disabled Veteran.
Episode 3: Yaakov Meltzer, a first responder and physician assistant from New York. Before COVID-19 took his life, the Queens native was a local ambulance service volunteer, retired physician assistant, and rabbi. He passed away in late March, leaving behind his wife of nearly 40 years, Debbie, as well as their eight children and 28 grandchildren. In the video, we hear from Meltzer’s family and community.
"We are grateful to feature these selfless families who are sharing their heartbreaking stories during one of the most difficult times in their lives so that others can benefit." – David C. Williams, CVP, Consumer & Brand Marketing, New York Life.
“This partnership produced visual tributes that not only allow us to honor the memories of these heroes but also reach more families who may be unaware they are eligible for support. We are grateful to feature these selfless families who are sharing their heartbreaking stories during one of the most difficult times in their lives so that others can benefit.” – David C. Williams, CVP, Consumer & Brand Marketing, New York Life.
To watch the episodes and learn more about the Fund, please visit here.
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