2023 Phelps Award Recipients: John Catsimatidis and Gary Sinise

John Catsimatidis

John was born on the Greek Island of Nisyros in 1948 and 6 months later his parents emigrated to New York City in search of a better life. They settled on 135th Street in Harlem and his father found work as a busboy and his mother was a stay-at-home mom.

John is a true son of New York; he was educated in both the parochial and public-school systems earning his high school diploma from Brooklyn Tech. John enrolled in New York University to study electrical engineering; going to school during the day and working in a small grocery store on nights and weekends to help his parents pay the bills. During his senior year, with just 8 credits remaining, John dropped out of NYU to work in the grocery business full-time. By his 25th birthday he was already a success with 10 Red Apple Supermarkets scattered along Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper Westside. Now, four decades later the Red Apple Group has evolved into a diversified corporation that has holdings in the energy, aviation, retail and real estate sectors and over 8,000 employees, with approximately 2,000 located in New York City. John and his wife Margo Catsimatidislive on Manhattan’s Upper East side and are parents to 2 grown children; Andrea and John Jr.

John is a firm believer in giving back to the community and has been a strong supporter of our Veterans and the Police Athletic League for nearly 30 years.

He serves on the Board of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, and over the years served in a variety of volunteer positions in the Greek Orthodox Church.


Gary Alan Sinise

Gary Alan Sinise is an American actor, humanitarian, and musician. Among other awards, he has won a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards. He has also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was nominated for an Academy Award. Sinise has also received numerous awards and honors for his extensive humanitarian work and involvement with charitable organizations. He is a supporter of various veterans’ organizations and founded the Lt. Dan Band (named after his character in Forrest Gump), which plays at military bases around the world.

He frequently performs on USO tours at military bases around the world, and volunteered for the National Vietnam Veterans Arts Museum now called the National Veterans Art Museum.

Sinise is also on the Advisory Council of Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit dedicated to provide a full cycle of non-medical care to combat-wounded service members, their families, and families of the fallen from each military branch. Sinise narrates the audiobook of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” which was released on April 13, 2011. In December 2011, Sinise was the narrator at the Candelight Processional at Disneyland.