Emmanuel Mensah posthumously named ‘Local Hero’ by NYC Red Cross

Red Cross
Kwabena Mensah, Mr. Mensah’s father, sitting behind his son’s portrait. Photo courtesy Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

Emmanuel Mensah was simply an amazing Private First Class (Pfc) of the United States (US) army. It is so honoring and equally humbling for me to receive such a huge recognition on his behalf from the Red Cross. May his soul rest in peace.

This was said Catherine Cudjoe who had just accepted a posthumous award for Pfc. Emmanuel Mensah from the American Red Cross in Greater New York (NY).

Catherine spoke to this writer barely a week after she had accepted the award on October 10, 2018, at The American Red Cross Local Hero Award gala themed ‘Heroes Among Us‘, at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in  NY. “He will be greatly missed, but he will equally be greatly loved for his valor and bravery,” she said about Pfc. Mensah.

Ashleigh Banfield (in red) hands Pfc Emmanuel Mensah’s award to Catherine. Photo – NYC Red Cross

She also thanked CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield from whom she accepted Private Mensah’s award, and “the entire Diaspora African community of NY, and well-wishers for their overwhelming support.”

Army Pfc. Mensah received the award due to his act of selflessness and bravery when in December 2017, while visiting his family in the Bronx, NY building located at 2363 Prospect Avenue, Belmont, in which he also lived [on the third floor].

During the visit, he noticed a fire breakout raging uncontrollably, and sprung into the part of the building with the fire from where he led neighbors to safety. Though 13 lives were claimed by the fire [his included], Mensah’s choice to put the lives of others before his saved four lives through his singular act of bravery.

I still can’t think where he got the courage to do what he did. His actions will inspire a generation, including myself,” Catherine said, as she went on to explain that father of Pfc. Mensah, Kwabena Mensah, on behalf of their family “asked me to receive this honor on behalf of their son from the Red Cross ‘Heroes Among Us’.”

Catherine (right) with CEO of NY Red Cross Josh Lockwood. Photo courtesy NY Red Cross

Prior to this Red Cross honor, the late Pfc. Mensah was posthumously awarded the highest award for valor outside of combat — the Soldier’s Medal, he also received the NY State Medal for Valor. Born May 11, 1991, in Accra, Ghana, the Private also received American citizenship in 2017 after he was brought to the US in 2012 by his father.

Catherine on behalf of the Mensah family told this writer that the family was thankful to Josh Lockwood — NY region Red Cross CEO, the entire Red Cross, the respective event sponsors including Macy’s Inc., Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and among others Ogilvy and IBM.

According to Catherine who is also President of the National Ghana Parade Council (NGPC), the NGPC and the Ghanaian Community in NY will hold a thanksgiving vigil in the Bronx, on December 27, 2018, at 6 PM. “It will be in remembrance of the 6 Ghanaians among the 13 that lost their lives in the December 27, 2017 fire,” she calmly explained.

Written by Oral Ofori

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