President and CEO
William Blackford is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Melissa’s Wish Organization, a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting and developing programs, support and financial assistance for caregivers and the professionals who serve them.
Prior to heading Melissa’s Wish, Mr. Blackford was Director of Facilities for Photocircuits Corporation, a $400-million-dollar manufacturer followed by Director of Logistics for Ademco Corporation. Mr. Blackford directed profit and loss as the General Manager for Lighthouse Harley-Davidson in New York and worldwide Product Manager of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Overseas Military Sales.
As an expert family caregiver and father, Bill and his wife Francine supported their daughter Melissa through her battle with pseudomyxoma peritonea, a rare abdominal cancer until her final days in hospice. Bill fully understands the trials and tribulations one must face as a caregiver.
Mr. Blackford served as Chief Warrant Officer Two with New York Army National Guard, received New York Medal for Valor, Valley Forge Cross for Heroism, twice recipient of New York State Conspicuous Service Medal and New York State Meritorious Medal. William continues to volunteer as Board Member and Chair for Dee Snider’s Ride helping to raise over $1.3 million in the last 14 years for various charities. Additionally, Mr. Blackford co-designed and built homes for Wings Over Haiti and managed multiple events for the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund.
Vice President and COO
William Vultaggio is Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Melissa’s Wish, where he leads the organization’s business development, supports strategic planning, and develops relationships with key stakeholders in the family caregiving community.
In addition to his work at Melissa’s Wish, Mr. Vultaggio holds the position of Vice President of Manufacturing for Advanced Tabco, a national manufacturer of commercial food service equipment. His working career with Advance Tabco has spanned four decades (or 45 years). In his capacity, Mr. Vultaggio directs seven locations nationwide. As a sought after professional, Mr. Vultaggio is known for his keen aptitude in decision-making, team management and problem solving.
William is a supportive member of the Ladles of Love Soup Kitchen where he volunteers every Saturday ensuring the community in need is properly fed and clothed. William is a key coordinator of the annual Sagamore Children’s Hospital Toy Run, and volunteers, as a Eucharistic Minister, at Stonybrook hospital comforting those in need.
Born, raised and educated in England, Mike is the oldest of 6 children, immigrated to the US while in his twenties and within a few years he became a US Citizen. Mike worked as a design engineer at multiple companies in the aerospace and research fields. Recently retired from a 23-year career with Brookhaven National Laboratory, he served the last 10 years as the design supervisor for the National Synchrotron Light Source II project at Brookhaven Lab.
Mike has a history of advocacy and nonprofit volunteer work, advocating for rights of LGBT employees at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He was influential in updating policy and providing healthcare benefits for domestic partners. He was also the chair of the Advocacy Council at Brookhaven Lab. Mike is currently an officer in two motorcycle riding groups, and also a member of the Dee Snider Ride Committee which is an annual motorcycle charity ride.
Mike married his husband Tom in 2011. They live in Ronkonkoma along with their two cats. Mike’s interests include motorcycling, kayaking, travel, reading, gardening, and walking.
Employed by Good Shepherd Hospice since 2000, Elissa works in both community and inpatient settings and encounters caregivers of all ages. While witnessing the physical and emotional toll it takes caring for a loved one, the challenge may be convincing the caregiver to take time out to tend to their own needs. A strong support system makes a tremendous difference for both the caregiver and the person being cared for.
Elissa has spent over 2 decades as a Hospice Social Worker providing emotional support, guidance and education to patients and caregivers enabling them to make informed decisions.
On a daily basis Elissa networks with family members, home health aides, and ancillary support in the field of long term planning and elder care.
Elissa has a passion for motorcycling and exploring the culinary arts with her husband Paul.