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Director of Communications

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Friday, August 1, 2003
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI and the American Red Cross of RI Announce August Community Heroes

Providence and Greenville Citizens are Rewarded for their Efforts

Providence, R.I., August 1, 2003 The American Red Cross of Rhode Island and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) are proud to honor Sister Ann Keefe, SST of Providence and Diane M. Sangermano of Greenville as the August recipients of the Community Heroes Award. Nominated by the public, the award recognizes the good works of "everyday people" who have made significant, positive impacts on individuals, families, organizations or entire communities in Rhode Island.

Sister Ann Keefe of St. Michael's Rectory in Providence, is co-founder of Taming Asthma, a cost-free organization that provides asthma care and education to improving the lives of the uninsured and underinsured. The program has been operating for the past five years and sees approximately 500 patients per year.  Since its inception, Taming Asthma has only cost a total of $3,000 due to donated space and the kindness of volunteer physicians, respiratory therapists and the community. Sister Ann was also involved in the founding of the Providence CityArts for Youth and is active in many other community outreach programs including the Community Boating Center, Family Aids Center for Treatment and Support (FACTS) Nursery, and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-Violence.

Since 1997, Diane Sangermano's mission has been to culturally enrich the lives of adolescent girls at the Greenville and Farnum Houses, two Smithfield residential treatment centers that care for the abused, neglected or sexually assaulted. With a focus on dance and theatre, Sangermano provided the necessary funds to match a grant from the Rhode Island Council of the Arts for the girls to engage in the All Children's Theatre and Arthur Murray dance classes. Her quiet support has contributed greatly to the girls' progress and has advanced their communication and social skills, cooperation, discipline and empathy.

Both Sister Ann Keefe and Diane Sangermano will be recognized as Community Heroes during the month of August in local newspapers and on WLNE-TV, Channel 6.

The Community Heroes program is a collaborative effort between the American Red Cross of Rhode Island and BCBSRI.  It's designed to recognize Rhode Islanders who care enough to make a difference.  Community Heroes can be everyday citizens, local firefighters, police, or emergency responders.  They can be honored for spontaneous acts of heroism (such as saving someone from drowning) or for an effort over time (such as reading to an elderly neighbor on a regular basis).  To nominate someone for a community hero award, call 459-1304, or go to or and click on "In the Community". 

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, has been the state's leading health insurer for 64 years and now covers more than 650,000 customers. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island volunteers provide emergency food, clothing and shelter each year to more than 1,000 Rhode Islanders who suffer a house fire or other disaster. All Red Cross assistance is provided free of charge. The American Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations to fund its work.

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