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PHILADELPHIA -- Wawa Inc. CEO Howard Stoeckel has been named the 2012 Citizen of the Year by the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Chapter. He was honored this morning at chapter's 30th annual award breakfast.
"Few organizations help us fulfill the American Red Cross mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering like Wawa, led by Howard Stoeckel," said American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania CEO Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes. "But it's not just us they support. Howard and Wawa uplift this entire community in so many ways, which is why we are honoring them."
The American Red Cross is honoring Stoeckel for his strong support of Red Cross disaster relief and blood donations. For years Wawa had provided the SEPA chapter with all the water it provides to disaster survivors. Stoeckel and Wawa also stepped up to provide food to the shelters during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, according to an American Red Cross release.
Wawa also sponsors a multimedia campaign during "March is Red Cross Month" to help raise awareness and money for Red Cross social service programs. In addition, the convenience store company has been a major financial contributor to SEPA's Red Cross House -- Center for Disaster Recovery in University City. Each year, Wawa provides grants that support disaster relief in the five states Wawa serves. Wawa has also been conducting in-store campaigns supporting the Red Cross since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, raising millions of dollars for disaster victims near and far.
Additionally, over the last eight years, Wawa has hosted 584 American Red Cross blood drives, collecting more than 21,000 units of blood and helping to save approximately 65,000 lives across our region. In the last year alone, Wawa's efforts helped the Red Cross collect more than 4,700 units, the organization stated.
"At Wawa, we are firmly committed to supporting the mission of the Red Cross to mobilize volunteers, provide humanitarian support and to help people when they need it the most. In Philadelphia alone, the Red Cross touches the lives of two out of three people every day with life-saving services," said Wawa President Chris Gheysens. "We express our gratitude to the Red Cross and volunteers for the important and vital role they play in this community. I am extremely proud of Wawa's continued commitment to supporting the American Red Cross and our associates' role in supporting and enabling these efforts, as well as Howard's leadership in making it possible."
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett added his congratulations as well. "Wawa has been an enormous proponent of advancing the mission of Red Cross," Corbett said. "Wawa and Howard Stoeckel openhandedness has ensured the health and well-being of countless Pennsylvanians and that makes their gifts priceless."
Past Citizen of the Year honorees include Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Denis O'Brien, president and CEO of PECO Energy Co.; Jerry Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust; and former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell.