Bobcats To Honor Heroes at Fifth Annual Black Tie Gala

September 21, 2012

Bobcats Sports & Entertainment President & Chief Operating Officer Fred Whitfield, along with Presbyterian Hospital, will host more than 500 guests at Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday, October 27, 2012 for the fifth annual “My Hero Gala” black tie fundraiser to support the Presbyterian Hospital Community Care Cruiser and the Cats Care Foundation. This year’s event will be presented by Deloitte and will feature Bobcats players, coaches and executives in tuxedoes, gowns and basketball shoes. SportSouth sideline reporter Stephanie Ready will serve as the evening’s emcee, with music by the Big Swing & The Ballroom Blasters and a live auction. In honor of their contributions to the community, awards will be given to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Zone Superintendent of Project Leadership and Investment For Transformation Denise Watts, USA Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team Head Coach David Kiley, The Urban Restoration Inc. Executive Director Colin Pinkney and Dr. Yele Aluko, a practicing physician and past president of Mid Carolina Cardiology.

This year’s Rising Star recipient, Denise Watts is a catalyst for change and improvement in education at the state and local level. After serving as a teacher, coach and assistant principal, Watts was named principal at Mint Hill Middle School in 2005. During her time as principal, Mint Hill Middle School became a nationally designated School to Watch and she was named the North Carolina Middle Level Principal of the Year. Watts, a wife, mother of two sons and native of Jonesville, NC, is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University, where she majored in elementary education. She received a master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and an education specialist degree from Wingate University. She is also nearing completion on a doctorate in educational leadership from Wingate University.

This year’s Sports Hero recipient, David Kiley has dedicated his life to giving back to others who are physically disabled since suffering a spinal cord injury at the age of 19. Kiley is the head coach of the World Champion USA Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball team which won its first championship in 24 years during the 2012 Olympics in London. In 1996, Kiley created and directed the Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program (A.S.A.P.) at the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation. The only player to play for the USA Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball team in four decades, Kiley has been inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Network Hall of Fame and the National Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame. He has also received numerous awards including the Magic Johnson/Jerry Buss Humanitarian award. Kiley has appeared as a motivational speaker in Canada, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Italy, France, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Mexico and Jamaica. He received his bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation from Cal State University, Sacramento.

This year’s Community Hero recipient, Colin Pinkney has lived, worked and served in the Charlotte Community for more than 16 years. He is a locally and nationally recognized motivational speaker and serves on the boards of The Charlotte Empowerment Zone, Charlotte Metro for Family and Marriage, and Redeemer Pre-School. Earlier this year, Pinkney received the Governor's Medallion Award for Volunteer Service, the state’s highest level of volunteer recognition, based on his volunteerism and dedication to the young men he has mentored at Olympic High School. Pinkney formed a book club at Olympic for male students struggling in school and over 80 young men have successfully completed the program to date, with a 100% high school graduation rate for participating seniors. Pinkney is the Executive Director of The Urban Restoration Inc., a faith-based non-profit group serving over 20,000 inner city families in Charlotte each year. He is the father of six children and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Christian leadership from Gordon Conwell Seminary, Charlotte campus.

This year’s Health Hero recipient, Dr. Yele Aluko is an internationally recognized cardiologist who has called Charlotte home for the past 23 years. A practicing physician with and past president of Mid Carolina Cardiology, Dr. Aluko’s interests include complex coronary interventions and clinical trials. As a physician leader with Presbyterian Healthcare, he has played a pivotal role in guiding strategy and bringing many customer service and quality initiatives to fruition. In addition to his medical talents, Dr. Aluko holds a strong commitment to civic responsibility and currently serves on numerous boards that seek to improve the health of our community. His passion for addressing health disparities led him to organize Mecklenburg County’s first Community Health Symposium, an event to raise awareness about racial and gender inequities in the region. Despite a busy schedule, he makes an annual visit to his home country of Nigeria to train local cardiologists in advanced cardiology procedures. His tremendous activity in the clinical landscape has earned him several distinguished awards, among them the Thurgood Marshall Award and the Richard Vinroot International Achievement Award.