Honoring John Whitehead, “Living Goddesses,” and jazzy cocktails in Georgetown.
By Donna Shor
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Accompanied by strains from Balogh’s Gypsy Cimbalom Band and the stamping feet of the Tisza Folk Dancers, the Hungarian American Coalition honored John Whitehead, banker, diplomat and “outstanding American.”
Why outstanding? Let us count the ways – at least a few, since this column isn’t long enough to list them all.
As a U.S. Navy commander, Whitehead, was aboard LCV landing craft at bloody Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion of World War II. A decade later, he aided Hungarian Freedom Fighters as Soviet tanks rolled in to crush their struggle for independence. But this action hero also served as deputy secretary of state in the Reagan years, co-chaired Goldman Sachs, was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and helped direct the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan after 9/11.
Whitehead, 86, holds a coveted Presidential Citizens Medal as well as the International Rescue Committee Freedom Award – fellow awardees include Sir Winston Churchill, Elie Wiesel, John McCain, Bill Clinton, and Lech Walesa – and he serves on the boards of a score of think tanks, charities, and biomedical research groups.