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Scene Last Night: Blankfein Honored by Police, Fireman’s Fund

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Mark Messier, former New York Rangers center; Kevin Parker, Deutsche Bank's head of asset management; Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; Rusty Staub, founder and chairman emeritus of the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, and Stephen Dannhauser, the fund's chairman.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Mark Messier, former New York Rangers center; Kevin Parker, Deutsche Bank's head of asset management; Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; Rusty Staub, founder and chairman emeritus of the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, and Stephen Dannhauser, the fund's chairman. Close

Mark Messier, former New York Rangers center; Kevin Parker, Deutsche Bank's head of asset management; Lloyd... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Patrick Kelly, president and chief operating officer, Brigade Capital Management LLC. Close

Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Patrick Kelly, president and chief operating... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Lloyd Blankfein, the event's honoree, with Stephen Dannhauser, the chairman of the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund. Close

Lloyd Blankfein, the event's honoree, with Stephen Dannhauser, the chairman of the New York Police & Fire Widows' &... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Children of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty singing "God Bless America." Close

Children of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty singing "God Bless America."

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The scene at the Answer the Call Gala, Park Avenue Armory Drill Hall, 9:36 p.m. Close

The scene at the Answer the Call Gala, Park Avenue Armory Drill Hall, 9:36 p.m.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Capt. Peter Tronolone and Chief Jim Coyne of the New York Fire Department. Close

Capt. Peter Tronolone and Chief Jim Coyne of the New York Fire Department.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Alan Greenberg, former CEO of Bear Stearns & Co and vice chairman emeritus, JPMorgan Asset Management. Close

Alan Greenberg, former CEO of Bear Stearns & Co and vice chairman emeritus, JPMorgan Asset Management.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Steve Schwarzman, chairman and CEO, Blackstone Group LP. Close

Steve Schwarzman, chairman and CEO, Blackstone Group LP.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Peter Conlan, firefighter in marine operations at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Philip Moyles, CEO, Sharebridge Holdings and a board member of the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund. Close

Peter Conlan, firefighter in marine operations at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Philip Moyles, CEO, Sharebridge... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Dan Dannhauser, director, JPMorgan, Matt Montana of Merrill Lynch and Claudia Dannhauser. Close

Dan Dannhauser, director, JPMorgan, Matt Montana of Merrill Lynch and Claudia Dannhauser.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Heather Smith, partner, Greentech Capital Advisors and a board member of the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, and David Moszer, managing director, Prospect Capital. Close

Heather Smith, partner, Greentech Capital Advisors and a board member of the New York Police & Fire Widows' &... Read More

Thursday night Lloyd Blankfein addressed 1,200 guests gathered at the Park Avenue Armory for the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund 10- 13 Answer the Call Gala.

“At a time in this country when there’s so much disunity, it’s nice to find a cause on which everyone can agree,” said Blankfein, the chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and the event’s honoree.

It must also have been nice, a month into the Occupy Wall Street protests, to be Lloyd Blankfein and be so warmly welcomed.

“People should appreciate his courage coming out here tonight,” said Patrick Kelly, president and chief operating officer of Brigade Capital Management LLC, speaking from his dinner seat.

“He’s a great American success story,” said Stephen Dannhauser, chairman of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and of the Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund, at the lectern. “That’s what the children of our widows are looking for.”

Twenty-five children of deceased police officers and firefighters sang “God Bless America” at the event.

The fund provides financial assistance to families of New York City police officers and fire fighters killed in the line of duty including Port Authority police officers and emergency medical service workers. In its 26 years, it has helped 700 families.

The gala, along with efforts leading up to it, raised $2 million. Guests included Blackstone Group LP (BX) chairman and CEO Steve Schwarzman (and a table of analysts and associates from the firm); Deutsche Bank AG (DBK)’s head of asset management, Kevin Parker; Mark Messier, former New York Rangers center; and Alan Greenberg, former chief executive of Bear Stearns & Co.

Bagpipes and Drums

“What could be easier to give to?” Greenberg said moments before a ceremonial unit of fire fighters and police officers marched down the aisles playing the bagpipes and drums.

Decor consisted of two New York Fire Department trucks with their ladders extended to the ceiling. From the balconies hung 343 American flags honoring the 343 New York fire fighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

“My brother was with Ladder 5,” said the fund’s director of development, Linda Giammona. “He was my best friend. He died helping people, and I feel I should live helping people.”

The meal was steak au poivre, potatoes and spinach flan. For dessert, waiters passed brownie ice cream sandwiches.

In a live auction, George McNeely of Christie’s sold two rides on Marine 1, the New York City Fire Department’s historic fireboat, for $22,000 each. Shannon Riley, a social worker, won a day with New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for $25,000.

“I was bidding on behalf of my family’s foundation,” Riley said, before introducing her mom, dad and two sisters. “We haven’t decided which sister gets to go.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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