HIS is one of the best days of the year!" exclaimed editor Steve Slon as he presided over the annual AARP The Magazine Impact Awards at a luncheon at the New York Public Library. CNNís Paula Zahn served as emcee.
"Iím stunned that Iím old enough," Marlo Thomas said. "When did that happen?"
She said that her father, Danny Thomas, founder of St. Judeís Childrenís Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., used to say that there are two kinds of people, the givers and the takers. The takers sometimes eat better but the givers sleep better.
Thomas was one of 10 individuals honored for their service to mankind. The others are Robert De Niro who revitalized a traumatized lower Manhattan with his Tribeca Film Festival, Elouise Cobell who fights for Indian rights, coach Jim Larranaga of George Mason University basketball team, Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont for promoting affordable health care, actor David Hyde Pierce for spotlighting Alzheimerís disease.
Also president Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for campaigning for more math and science in schools, Dr. Jack McConnell for building a free clinic during his retirement in Hilton Head, S.C., that is sprouting a network of free clinics nationwide, Valerie Harper for helping to eradicate world hunger through the Hunger project, andCordelia Taylor for regenerating her community in Milwaukee with a long-term care complex called the Family House.
Cobell, granted warrior status for battles against the federal government on behalf of her Blackfeet Nation, said she took her son to the Statue of Liberty. He complained about the long line to which she said, "Just wait, one of these days we will repossess it."
Director Martin Scorsese praised De Niro for doing so much for New York filmmakers "that his name has become synonymous with filmmaking."
De Niro said he and Jane Rosenthal founded the Tribeca Film Festival because "we wanted to create something to lift the spirits of New Yorkers" following 9/11.