Gannon's award highlights work of Annual Catholic Appeal

Jerry Naunheim Jr.
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Niall Gannon has received a prestigious national Community Leadership Award from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney for his volunteer efforts with the Annual Catholic Appeal.

Gannon was general chairman of the 2007 Appeal and has served the ACA in various other roles, including on the ACA Council. The appeal is held each spring in parishes throughout the archdiocese. It provides support for Catholic education, parish emergencies, youth programs, social service programs serving those in need and much more.

The award cited Gannon's leadership on efforts that have touched the lives of many people in great need across the St. Louis metropolitan area. In giving him the award and a $5,000 donation from the firm to the ACA, it was noted that the Appeal helps children receive a helping hand out of poverty through quality education, homeless people have a place to sleep and hungry families receive help through difficult times. It was pointed out that the appeal helps people of all faiths or no faith.

Gannon, a member of Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Webster Groves, is executive director, wealth management, with the Gannon Group at Morgan Stanley.

In a video played at the award ceremony, he noted that he and his wife became involved with the appeal after they were married in 1993. They took a leadership role in 2001. The Appeal raises funds for educational and underserved communities in the archdiocese, he said, noting that Catholic schools in the archdiocese make up the largest school district in Missouri, with many students needing financial assistance to attend.

He added it is important to support the volunteers and workers who do the charitable works and outreach of the archdiocese -- many of whom give their entire lives to helping others.

"There's a great deal of credibility that comes from works of the Church where we are helping nonCatholics ... in a school, at a homeless shelter" and more, Gannon said. "The charity comes with no strings attached."

He added that people in need seek help from the social-safety net and "wind up on the steps of the Church. And that's why we're there."

After the award ceremony, he said, a woman from California in attendance told him she had left the Church after serving on her parish council and becoming involved in a dispute over a difficult issue. But she told Gannon that after seeing the video accompanying his award she needs to "come home."

"You're always a little embarrassed to be put up there in a role like that," he said of the attention from the award, "but if it moves the needle for someone like that, it's worth it."

If you have yet to contribute to the Annual Catholic Appeal, contact your parish, visit or send a contribution to Annual Catholic Appeal, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119. For information call (314) 792-7680.

To see the video that accompanied Gannon's award, see stlouisre

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