Gala Awardees

2023 Heroes Awardees

Habitat Regeneration

Abigail Salisbury

State Representative

While a Councilwoman in Swissvale Borough, State Representative Salisbury championed the first-ever HAP Hive project, which installed a pollinator garden in a previously vacant lot in Swissvale. The 12,000 square feet of space will serve as an oasis for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. This garden is a massive step in our goal to educate citizens, create hospitable homes for bees, and encourage others to foster a nurturing environment for pollinators in their area.

Legislator of the Year

Jason Ortitay

State Representative

A longtime friend to HAP and animals, State Representative Ortitay led the way for the 2023 passage of HR87, a state resolution to conduct a study of wildlife corridors. This study will pave the way for animals to safely migrate from one habitat to another, decrease wildlife-vehicle collisions, and keep wildlife populations healthy.

Senator Roy Afflerbach Monumental Achievement Award

Howard and Carole Baskin

Big Cat Sanctuary

Over the years, the Baskins have saved countless big cats at their Big Cat Sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, but HAP is honoring them for their work to save big cats nationwide. Howard and Carole lobbied Congress for years to ban the private trade and ownership of big cats and their cubs, while phasing out private ownership. Their hard work paid off when the Big Cat Public Safety Act was signed into law on December 20, 2022.

Past Heroes Awardees

2022

Legislator of the Year

Erika Strassburger

Councilperson to District 8

Compassionate Living Award

Senator Roy Afflerbach Monumental Achievement Award

2021

Legislator of the Year

Mike Doyle

Congressman

Compassionate Living Award

Richard Butler

HR Manager of Talent and Wellness Development, City of Pittsburgh

Senator Roy Afflerbach Monumental Achievement Award

Officer Christine Luffey

Pittsburgh Police Department

2019

Legislator of the Year

Matt Rudzki

Sharpsburg Mayor

Compassionate Living Award

Simone Frerk

VP EVS, Food and Nutrition UPMC Health Services Division

Compassionate Living Award

Dr. Michael Parkinson

UPMC

Senator Roy Afflerbach Monumental Achievement Award

Roy Afflerbach

Senator

2018

Legislator of the Year

Bruce Kraus

City Council President

Compassionate Living Award

Daisy Wise

Hello Bully

Monumental Achievement Award

Nancy Lee

Best Friend to Animal Award

David Mongillo, Esq.

2017

Legislator of the Year

Bruce Kraus

City Council President

Special Acknowledgement

Tucker Arensberg Attorneys

2016

Legislator of the Year

Adam Ravenstahl

State Representative