Founder and Executive Director
Nancy plays a key role in outreach as the primary spokesperson and liaison to the firehouses and unions. She is an Honorary Battalion Chief of the New York City Fire Department and has been honored with the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the FDNY Holy Name Society, the FDNY Columbus Association, and the New Orleans Fire Department; the Dedicated Service Award by the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the Uniformed Public Service Award from the Caron Foundation, and is an Honorary Member of the FDNY Honor Legion. Nancy is a graduate of the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management’s Executive Level Program at the Columbia University School of Business.
Stephanie cherry, lcsw
Associate Director and Counselor
Stephanie has over 15 years experience working with individuals suffering from trauma and PTSD. Previous clinician and research positions were at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, NYU Child Study Center, and New York Presbyterian-Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Stephanie holds an advanced certificate from the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy post-graduate Trauma Training Program, an MSW from the Hunter College School of Social Work, and an MA in Psychology from NYU Graduate School of Arts.
Office and Events Manager
Marlo is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Friends of Firefighters, from setting up appointments and maintaining our service database, to acting as liaison between FDNY members seeking services and matching them with the appropriate providers. Marlo is responsible for the orchestration of our annual planned events and provides oversight of all other fundraising events. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Bloomsburg University.
Kristina Hamilton, LCSW
Kristina is a licensed clinical social worker and prolonged exposure therapy certified provider. She previously worked at the FDNY Bureau of Health Services WTC Medical Monitoring Program and the FDNY Counseling Service Unit, and for five years at the Department of Veteran Affairs providing counseling to active duty service members and veterans who returned from combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. She holds a master’s degree from Adelphi University.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Sylvie handles all internal and external communications with clients, donors, and the public via social media, website management, and direct mail. She is an experienced writer and editor who spent 10 years working at Scholastic Children's Publishing in a wide range of editorial roles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Lauren Johnson, LMFT
Lauren earned her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Hofstra University. In addition to her work at Friends of Firefighters, Lauren has a private practice where she works with individuals, families, and couples dealing with sexual issues, depression, anxiety, effective communication, conflict resolution, and trauma.
MARIELLE CERESA, Lac
Marielle is a NYS licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist who graduated from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. She completed a 2-year clinical apprenticeship in Master Tung Acupuncture and received a certificate of training at the Beijing International Teaching Hospital in China. Marielle incorporates over 10 years of experience with contemplative practices including meditation and yoga. Believing that one must take an active role in their own healing process, she works with each patient to develop balanced lifestyle choices around diet, exercise mindfulness practices and stress-prevention.
Crystal is a certified yoga instructor familiar with the firefighter lifestyle and the health challenges associated with it. Her beginner level class focuses on easing physical issues, reducing stress, breathing exercises, and developing the physical fitness necessary to respond to the extreme demands of the job. When she is not in the yoga studio, she can be found leading an active lifestyle outdoors and on the water.
Gina piccirillo, lac
Gina is a NYC licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who graduated from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. She was an occupational therapist for many years when a very personal experience brought her to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Gina has a special interest in utilizing food as "medicine" in her treatments, and her practice is centered on a "whole body" approach — working on the interaction between psycho-emotional and physical issues.
Karen has been working with Friends of Firefighters for the past 7 years helping families identify financial goals and develop living-plans that include tax strategies, life insurance planning, retirement income planning, and money management.