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Behind the Flames Scottsdale dinner honors Firefighter of the Year; salutes courageous Valley residents

Scottsdale Firefighters Association honors educator, advocate & Rattlers star
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

The Behind the Flames Scottsdale Fire Fighter Charities Dinner is set for 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, where the bravery of Scottsdale firefighters and three courageous Valley residents will be honored at STK, 7134 E. Stetson Drive.

For more than 20 years the Behind the Flames dinner has been a keystone community salute in “The West’s Most Western Town” as among honorees the Scottsdale firefighter of the year will be named.

Photo of Kareem Neal
Kareem Neal

A 5 p.m. sponsor reception and cocktails is followed by dinner of premium steaks, seafood and crafty cocktails followed by the event’s program at 6 p.m.

Kareem Neal will be honored by the Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association as the first Arizona Teacher to be chosen for the “National Teachers Hall of Fame,” according to a press release.

The National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in 1989 to draw the public’s attention to and celebrate exceptional teachers. Mr. Neal is a special education teacher at Maryvale High School where he was been for 15 years.

As the 2019 recipient of “Arizona Teacher of the Year,” Mr. Neal’s 21 years of teaching do not go unnoticed, promoters of the event say.

Photo of Kendra Riley
Kendra Riley

Right to Try advocate and Valley mom Kendra Riley will also be honored during the evening. Ms. Riley is an entrepreneur, but more importantly a mother of three.

She became a rare disease and healthcare advocate after two of her daughters were diagnosed with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy. Ms. Riley put her life on hold to seek treatment for her youngest child in Milan, Italy. She now speaks at conferences around the globe and volunteers at several 501(c)(3) nonprofits in Arizona.

The third honoree of the evening is Shannon Brooks — star running back for the Arizona Rattlers.

Mr. Brooks is a mental health advocate. Mr. Brooks played college football at the University of Minnesota where he became the 12th all-time leading rusher in program history. After suffering the loss of his mother and other setbacks, the Rattlers star faced mental health struggles, he now shares to help others.

Photo of Shannon Brooks
Shannon Brooks

“We are so excited to be honoring Kareem, Kendra and Shannon at this year’s Scottsdale Fire Fighters Charities Dinner,” said Brian Shedlock of the Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association, in a prepared statement.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and everything we raise this night will go to help numerous Valley charities during the year. We know the night is going to be special, and we are so appreciative of everyone and the business who come out to support us.”

Single tickets are available to purchase for $150. There are several sponsorship levels and there is also the opportunity to sponsor the attendance of a firefighter for $500.

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