NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund Chairman Daniel J. "Rusty" Staub, and Stephen J. Dannhauser, Chairman of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and President and CEO of the Fund, announced today they will honor Charles A. Davis, CEO of global private equity firm Stone Point Capital LLC, and Mark Messier, six-time Stanley Cup Champion and NHL Hall of Fame member, at the organization's 23rd Annual Benefit Gala on Tuesday, September 23rd at the New York Hilton Grand Ballroom. Philip V. Moyles, Jr., Senior Advisor at Stone Point Capital LLC is Chair for the black-tie optional event.

This year's gala features a live auction with NY 1 News Society Reporter George Whipple as auctioneer. Among the items to be bid on are an Ireland Castle vacation package, a private island Bahamas Vacation (including fishing trip and dinner with Mark Messier), and four seats to the last game at Shea Stadium, which will honor 45 former Mets players and managers and mark the closing of the Stadium.

The evening will also pay tribute to the legacy of Benefit Fund co-founder J. Patrick "Paddy" Burns, who passed away earlier this year. The first J. Patrick "Paddy" Burns award recipient will be Harrison Ford, in recognition of his contribution and participation in the organization's premier Public Service Announcement "The Call," which received a Telly Award this year.

"The board and families of the Benefit Fund are deeply grateful for the active support that Charles and Mark have shown. Thanks to their involvement, we have already exceeded prior years' fundraising efforts, even despite the tough economy," said Rusty Staub.

"It's been a privilege working with Charles and Mark, both respectable leaders in their careers and communities. Their stalwart dedication is inspiring, and sets an important example of giving back and honoring our most respected heroes," said Stephen Dannhauser.

Charles Davis joined Greenwich-based Stone Point Capital, a global private equity firm, in 1998 and has served as Chief Executive Officer for eight years. Previously, he was with Goldman, Sachs & Co. for 23 years, where he served as head of Investment Banking Services worldwide, co-head of the Americas Group, head of the Financial Services Industry Group, member of the International Executive Committee and General Partner. Davis serves as a director of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, Lockton International Holdings Limited and Wilton Re Holdings Limited, and a former director of several portfolio companies including Sedgwick CMS Holdings, Inc. and Vertafore, Inc. (f/k/a AMS Services, Inc.). He is also a director of Media General, Inc., Merchants Bancshares, Inc., Progressive Corporation and The Hershey Company. Davis' charitable contributions include active involvement with the Charles & Marna Davis Foundation and Stone Point Capital Foundation.

Mark Messier, widely considered among the greatest hockey players and greatest sports leaders of all time, spent more than a quarter of a century in the NHL (1979-2004) with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks. He won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers and one with the Rangers, and is the only professional athlete to captain two different teams to championships. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Since his retirement in January 2006, Messier has been actively involved with several charitable causes, including the Tomorrow's Children Fund, which named Messier the 1996 "Humanitarian of the Year," and Hackensack University Medical Center, which unveiled the "Mark Messier Skyway for Tomorrow's Children" in 2006.

Cocktail Reception begins at 6:00 p.m., with dinner and program at 7:30 p.m. Individual tickets begin at $750. For sponsorship/ticket information, contact Linda Giammona, 212-735-4505/ Press must contact Rhonda Walker, 212-843-8338/ regarding photo opportunities/attendance.

Since its inception in 1985 by Rusty Staub, the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund ( has distributed approximately $114 million to the families of New York City Police and Fire personnel who have been killed in the line of duty. Starting in 1987, the Benefit Fund provided 320 families with annual financial assistance; now, the commitment has grown to nearly 700 families. Immediately after the death of a First Responder, the Benefit Fund delivers the family a check to help them through the uncertain times such a tragedy can bring. After the initial crisis, the Benefit Fund provides each family with financial support and a network of friends ready to lend a hand. Though the Benefit Fund was initially created to assist families of New York City Fire Fighters and Police Officers, it now includes the families of Emergency Medical Services and Port Authority Police as well.

Rubenstein Associates
Rhonda Walker
(212) 843-8338