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The National Ethic Coalition Of Organizations (NECO) To Present Ellis Island Medals Of Honor To Emilio Estefan, Jr. Chairman. Estefan Enterprises, Inc.
May 09, 2009

NEW YORK, NY -- The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) will present the 23rd Annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor on Ellis Island, Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 6 p.m.  The ceremony will be followed by the annual Gala Awards Dinner in the historic Great Hall.

Among the recipients of the distinguished award this year is Grammy-winning producer Emilio Estefan, Jr., Chairman of Estefan Enterprises, Inc.  A true visionary, Emilio has continually pushed the envelope of blending Latin, pop and world rhythms to create a unique style and personality. After a quarter of a century producing music for some of the biggest stars in the music business, Emilio is now striving to shatter Latin stereotypes in film and on TV.  Directing and producing music videos, television specials and special events, Emilio is bringing to life his vision of the largest growing ethnic group in the United States.

For a man who arrived in the United States from Cuba as a teenager during the 60s, Emilio lived and faced the cultural and racial differences that have been a part of the Latino integration in the U.S.  With more than 70 musical productions to his credit, and more than 25 music videos, Emilio will continue to give back to the community.  Along with his wife Gloria, Emilio established the Gloria Estefan Foundation to work for cures of childhood illnesses.  Emilio symbolizes the new Latino in the world and is a true American patriot.

Each year since 1986, NECO – whose mission is to honor our diverse Past, to advocate for positive change in the Present, and to build strong leaders for the Future – has honored our nation's diverse past by sponsoring the Ellis Island Medals of Honor.  The Ellis Island Medals of Honor annually pays tribute to the ancestry groups that comprise America’s unique cultural mosaic. The Medals are presented on Ellis Island, in a dramatic ceremony, to American citizens of diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their communities, their nation and the world.

According to Nasser J. Kazeminy, Chairman of NECO, “NECO is about investing in the power of caring, whereas people from all cultures and walks of life stand together arm in arm to make a real difference in our world through shared compassion and philanthropy – not just for now, but to also inspire future generations who will continue to preserve and build upon the legacy that each of our cultures has contributed.  With our Medalists, we will see America – at its best.  We will see every color, every race from so many walks of life – together – celebrating – the magic that is America.  Our Medalists’ influence and achievements truly inspire and touch the lives of people everywhere.”

Past Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients include six Presidents of the United States, Nobel Prize winners, athletes, leaders of industry, artists and others whose work has made a lasting impact on humanity.  They are awarded annually to outstanding American citizens, from all walks of life, who have distinguished themselves through their significant contributions to this country.  The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most prestigious awards.  The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and each year the recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.  To date, more than 1,500 American citizens have received Ellis Island Medals of Honor.

Some previous Medalists include: U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist; Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell; Sen. John McCain; Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell; Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno; Lee Iacocca; Dr. Michael E. DeBakey; Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao; Rosa Parks; Elie Wiesel; Frank Sinatra; Bob Hope; Opera diva Renee Fleming; Yogi Berra; Muhammad Ali; Arnold Palmer; Tom Brokaw; Walter Cronkite; Barbara Walters; Mike Wallace; Quincy Jones; Gloria Estefan, Gary Sinise and Siegfried & Roy, H.E. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President – United Nations 61st Session General Assembly (International Recipient), just to name a few.

For further information about NECO and the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, please visit: www.neco.org.

About NECO

NECO was created in 1984 on the conviction of its founder, William Denis Fugazy, Sr. that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great.

NECO's mission is simple: to honor our diverse Past, to advocate for positive change in the Present, and to build strong leaders for the Future.

NECO does this with one goal in mind: Unity through Diversity: Investing in the Power of Caring.

NECO is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization with strategic alliances that allow us to support a range of diverse programs and insure that every dollar we spend goes to creating a better world in the future for us all.

In addition to hosting the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, NECO is proud to have formed meaningful and lasting partnerships with some of the most revolutionary humanitarian causes in the world.  In these uncertain and difficult times, our promise to make the world a better place and uphold the integrity of all contributions still rings true.  Some of these include the Gift of Life International, Children In Need Institute (CINI), The Ellis Island Immigration Museum, The Peopling of America Center, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, Boys Hope Girls Hope and Concern Worldwide.