Commission elects new chair, celebrates emeritus board members

Board Meeting
From second from left, Hero Fund Commission members Ann M. McGuinn, Frank Brooks Robinson, Sybil P. Veeder, and Robert J. Cindrich display their emeritus pins received from Vice Chair Nancy L. Rackoff (far left) and President Eric P. Zahren (far right) at the Hero Fund’s 118th annual meeting held June 21, 2022 at the Duquesne Club in downtown Pittsburgh.

After serving at the helm of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for the past 21 years, Chair Mark Laskow stepped down at the Hero Fund Commission’s annual meeting, held June 21, 2022. Elected to a newly created position, chair emeritus, Laskow was replaced with Hero Fund President Eric Zahren as Board chair, while retaining his position as president.

Laskow became the head of the Commission in December 2001 as president (2001 to 2013) and then chair (2013-2022). The change in Commission leadership is the first in more than 20 years, and Zahren becomes only the eighth leader of the Commission in its 118-year history. Laskow, who will remain a member of the Commission, was unanimously elected Chair Emeritus, the first to hold the title.

Laskow was elected to the Commission in 1992. He oversaw the Commission’s centennial observance in 2004, largely conceived the Carnegie Hero Funds World Committee, on which he served as co-chair, and led the Hero Fund in its celebration of 10,000 heroes in 2018. During his years of service, 2,612 Carnegie Medals have been awarded to individuals who risked death or severe injury to save the lives of others.

Zahren joined the Commission board in 2015 following a 25-year federal government career as a member of the U.S. Secret Service. He became the Commission’s Executive Director in 2016 and President in 2017.

In addition, at the annual meeting, six Commission members were lauded for their years of service as Commission members and received emeritus member status.

Together, A.H. Burchfield, Robert J. Cindrich, Priscilla J. McCrady, Ann M. McGuinn, Frank Brooks Robinson, and Sybil P. Veeder served 194 years on the Commission, “fulfilling Mr. Carnegie’s vision for the Fund,” stated a resolution of the Hero Fund. Cindrich was elected to the board in 2012; McGuinn and Veeder in 1992; McCrady and Burchfield in 1989 and 1987, respectively; and Brooks Robinson in 1966 — serving 56 years on the Commission.

“These board members have contributed wisdom and guidance to the Commission for many decades, and we are grateful for their service all these years,” said board chairman Eric Zahren. “Their status as emeritus members will keep them close to the Commission, so we may continue to benefit from their institutional knowledge and kinship.”