Brian Gerich is an outstanding American leader with a heart that is compassionate and generous and a mind that is brilliant and sensible. He has made a dramatic beneficial impact on everything he has been involved in, from the American corporate community to his committed dedication and love for the Orthodox Church
New York, NY (PRWEB) May 17, 2007
Obren Brian Gerich, Senior Vice President of Public Storage, Inc and respected philanthropist of the Orthodox Christian community in America, has been awarded the "Ellis Island Medal of Honor" for his dedication and leadership in community service. Mr. Gerich, along with other recipients from various heritage groups chosen by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations NECO, received this honor on May 12, 2007. Each year, NECO awards the "Ellis Island Medal of Honor" to outstanding individuals who lead a lifestyle dedicated to community service, exhibit interests for the preservation of cultural groups and to those who share and contribute through personal and professional achievements toward the overall benefit of society. The Ellis Island ceremony starts with an elegant and festive Welcome Cocktail Reception where all Medalists meet one another. Following the ceremony, the Gala Dinner is held in the beautifully restored Great Hall on Ellis Island, capped by a stunning display of fireworks, which are presented by Grucci.
As one of the outstanding lay leaders of the Eastern Orthodox Church in North America, Mr. Gerich stated, "I believe that the depth in understanding human relationships, family, leadership, charity and trust are vital." Widely respected by all Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, he is currently on the advisory board of the Orthodox Christian Laity. His work in the Orthodox Church has been dramatically fruitful and exemplary. He has helped start an international relief organization for the International Orthodox Christian Charities, which in a short 15 years has distributed over $200 million in short-term and long-term aid in over 15 countries. He has been instrumental in helping the Serbian Orthodox Church begin to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. In 1993, Obren Brian Gerich was awarded the Order of St. Sava - the highest honor given by the Serbian Orthodox Church. In 2002 he was also awarded the Order of St. Innocent by the Orthodox Church in America.
As Vince Lombardi stated, "Leadership is based on a spiritual quality - the power to inspire others to follow," Mr. Gerich has spent his life pursing exactly this. His charitable activities for his communities are considerable. He has been a life-long member of the St. Steven's Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Alhambra, California, where he has been a member of the board of trustees for many years. Gerich is also a board member of St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York, where he was a co-chairman of a $20 million capital campaign, taking the seminary to a new level as its best previous effort was to raise $700,000. In his quiet, humble way, Gerich has funded an annual convening of St. Vladimir's alumni where clergy and laymen can renew acquaintances and exchange ideas.
"Brian Gerich is an outstanding American leader with a heart that is compassionate and generous and a mind that is brilliant and sensible. He has made a dramatic beneficial impact on everything he has been involved in, from the American corporate community to his committed dedication and love for the Orthodox Church," says Charles R. Ajalat, Chancellor of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, founder and former Chairman of International Orthodox Christian Charities and most gratefully, a dear friend of his.
Besides these leadership roles, Mr. Gerich is a member of the Central Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church and treasurer of the American Western Diocese of the Serbian Church. He has also been an active member of the board directors of "Project Mexico," a church organization that builds houses for homeless people, operates an orphanage for boys and conducts programs that allow young people from around the world to join in philanthropic work in Mexico.
Mr. Gerich is currently the Senior Vice President of Public Storage Inc. (http//http://www.publicstorage.com) and has been with the company since 1974. "Brian has taught me about human relationships, family, leadership, charity and most importantly, trust. He remains an exemplary role model and most definitely represents the best of America" says President and CEO of Public Storage, Ronald L. Havner, Jr.
Mr. Gerich also serves as both the President of PS Insurance Company - Hawaii LTD. and the President of Stor-Re Mutual Insurance Company Inc. Trained as a certified public accountant, Mr. Gerich earned his bachelor's degree from Claremont Men's College in 1960 and his master's degree from the University of Southern California in 1966.
In addition to these church activities, he and his wife Marilyn have established "The Obren B. & Marilyn Gerich Family Foundation" which supports various causes including children's health, the handicapped and Orthodox Christian projects. The Foundation has endowed three scholarships at St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary for men and women of Serbian descent who wish to attend seminary. To date, over 40 men and women have received scholarships." Tremendous appreciation goes to his family and friends who also understand his commitment to his philanthropic work and his declining so many social engagements: his wife, Marilyn, his biggest supporter and a beacon of encouragement throughout their marriage; his daughters, Carrie and Julia, who have enriched his life with joy; his grandchildren (Alexis, Tessa, Ryan and Hayden) whose demise was much too soon.
Because of his many achievements and his ability to touch individuals through his personal and professional achievements, Mr. Gerich was honored at this year's ceremony on Saturday, May 12, 2007 on the historic Ellis Island in New York City. Gerich joins the honored ranks of past recipients such as former American presidents--Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford as well as other famed individuals such as Frank Sinatra, Donald Trump, Lee Iacocca, and Barbara Walters.
Additional recipients of the 2007 Ellis Island Medals of Honor include: Her Excellency Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the 61st Session of the United Nations General Assembly; Senator Chuck Hagel; Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame; U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus; Leslie Crocker Snyder, former New York State Supreme Court Judge; and Guillermo Linares, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.