On Thursday, October 25, over 400 guests honored Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and Dr. Gary P. Kearney for their exemplary leadership and outstanding public service at the USS Constitution Museum Gala – A Salute to Service Gala.
Congresswoman Tsongas, who became the first woman in 25 years to serve Massachusetts in Congress, received the Charles Francis Adams Award, named for one of the Museum’s founders and given to a person who has contributed extensively to the betterment of the community. As an advocate for military servicemembers and veterans, a dedicated partner of national parks, and an ardent supporter of local innovation, Congresswoman Tsongas embodies the same ideals USS Constitution represents—dedication to community, commitment to purpose, and excellence in all endeavors.
“I am honored to receive a community service award named for Charles Francis Adams, founder of the USS Constitution Museum and a descendant of our founding father, John Adams,” said Congresswoman Tsongas. “Our national parks have been famously called ‘America’s best idea’ and they include Boston National Historical Park and Charlestown Navy Yard which tell the story of USS Constitution and Boston’s role in the very beginnings of our country. These parks protect, celebrate, and give access to places that have shaped and defined who we are as a people, and a country. That mission is shared by the USS Constitution Museum, and I join the many visitors who take advantage of this wonderful place in being grateful to the USS Constitution Museum for the work they do to bring American history to life for the American people.”
Dr. Kearney, Vice Chairman of the USS Constitution Museum’s Board of Trustees, received the “Old Ironsides” Exemplary Service Award.
“Through Gary’s commitment to stewardship and outreach the Museum completed a successful War of 1812 Bicentennial campaign and saw annual visitation grow to more than 500,000,” said USS Constitution Museum President Anne Grimes Rand. “During an exciting decade for the Museum, he has been an essential partner in raising support and enthusiasm for the Museum’s mission.”
A resident of Boston’s Beacon Hill, Dr. Kearney is the Past President of Medical Staff, Chief of Urology, and Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the New England Baptist Hospital. Since 1973 he has been on the staff of Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He served in the United States Naval Reserve as a flight surgeon and retired in 1999 with the rank of captain.
Governor Charlie Baker, who has attended the Museum’s fundraiser twice before, said, “USS Constitution reminds us of the enormous sacrifice and commitment that forged this nation, and the Museum is a fitting tribute to the founding of this country and the heroism shown by men and women who serve our nation each day.”
Paul George, the USS Constitution Museum’s chairman of the board, spoke about the Museum’s plan to move to the Hoosac Warehouse located next to USS Constitution. For the past 18 months the Museum has been working with the National Park Service, U.S. Navy, and Waltham-based design firm, Sasaki Partners, on a plan to make the Charlestown Navy Yard experience more unified, vibrant, and relevant.
“The move presents many new opportunities to engage our visitors—nearly half a million each year,” said George. “Tonight’s gala provides significant support for the Museum’s mission to spark excitement about maritime heritage, naval service, and the American experience.”
George continued, “A special thank you to our event co-chairs and Museum Trustees Alison Nolan and Mary Beth Sandman for their dedication to making tonight a success!”
The event, held at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston, raised over $325,000 and had 82 sponsors, including: Anchor Capital, Aon Benfield, Boston Harbor Cruises, Carey Realty, LLC, Deloitte, LLP, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Eaton Vance Investment Counsel, Ernst & Young LLP, JLT Re (North America) Inc., Nancy and Rick Kelleher, Liberty Mutual Insurance, MathWorks, Northern Trust, Raytheon, and Paul and Mary Beth Sandman, Swiss Re, and Willis Towers Watson.