By and  on May 1, 2014

While the American Image Awards honored an impressive cross section of industry leaders, it’s most stirring moment came when 10 Special Olympians took the stage for “The Star Spangled Banner” and waved proudly back at the standing ovation.

Later, the Special Olympians mingled with the crowd of more than 450 as they passed out chocolate Olympic gold medals with red, white and blue ribbons. The event, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan and sponsored by the American Apparel & Footwear Association, raised $750,000, with 40 percent of the net proceeds to benefit Special Olympics. Apropos to the evening’s message about supporting those who must overcome handicaps, Marlee Matlin, the only deaf performer to win an Academy Award, emceed the event.

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