A TRIBUTE TO THE 2007 ELLIS ISLAND MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS
(Extensions of Remarks - June 06, 2007)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1210-E1211]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




      A TRIBUTE TO THE 2007 ELLIS ISLAND MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

                                 ______
                                 

                            HON. DAN BURTON

                               of indiana

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, June 5, 2007

  Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate 
the 2007 recipients of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The Ellis 
Island Medal of Honor is presented annually by the National Ethnic 
Coalition of Organizations (NECO), representing more than 250 
organizations that span the spectrum of ethnic heritages, cultures and 
religions. Since the organization's founding in 1986, approximately 
1,700 American citizens have received Ellis Island Medals of Honor, 
including six American Presidents, several United States Senators, 
Congressmen, Nobel Laureates, outstanding athletes, artists, clergy, 
and military leaders.
  As we all know, citizens of the United States can trace their 
ancestry to many nations. The richness and diversity of American life 
makes us unique among the nations of the world and is in many ways the 
key to why America is the most innovative country in the world. The 
Ellis Island Medals of Honor not only celebrate select individuals but 
also the pluralism and democracy that enabled our ancestors to 
celebrate their cultural identities while still embracing the American 
way of life. This medal is not about money, but about people who really 
seized the opportunities this great country has to offer and who used 
those opportunities to not only better their own lives but make a 
difference in the lives of those around them. By honoring these 
outstanding individuals, we honor all who share their origins and we 
acknowledge the contributions they and other groups have made to 
America.
  In addition, NECO awards one International Ellis Island Medal of 
Honor each year. This year's international honoree was Victor Phillip 
Dahdaleh, Chairman, Dadco. Mr. Dahdaleh is Canadian.
  And for the first time in its history, NECO presented a Global 
Humanitarian Award to H. E. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President 
of the 61st Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
  When the immigrant station at Ellis Island, New York, opened on 
January 1, 1892, it admitted 700 immigrants into the United States on 
just its first day of operation. By the time the center closed in 1954, 
17 million immigrants had passed through its doors. The Ellis Island 
administration and staff, on average, processed up to 5,000 people per 
day. Many of these newcomers had little or no knowledge of English, 
hardly any money, and many arrived with only the clothes on their 
backs. They arrived risking their lives in exchange for freedom and a 
better way of life.
  I, once again, commend NECO and its Board of Directors headed by my 
good friend, Nasser J. Kazeminy, for honoring these truly outstanding 
individuals for their tireless efforts to foster dialogue and build 
bridges between different ethnic groups, as well as promote unity and a 
sense of common purpose in our Nation. As Rosemarie Taglione, Executive 
Director of NECO has said so eloquently on a number of occasions: 
``NECO's message of tolerance and harmony among diverse ethnic groups 
is, perhaps, even more important today than it was 20 years ago.''
  Madam Speaker, I ask all of my colleagues to join me in recognizing 
the good works of NECO, and congratulating all of the 2007 recipients 
of the Ellis Island Medals of Honor. I also ask unanimous consent that 
the names of this year's recipients be placed into the Congressional 
Record following my statement:
  Dr. Gregory Adamian, H. E. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, George 
Altirs, Peter Arnell, Dr. Elias Ayoub, Dr. Ernest M. Barsamian, 
Michelle Bodden, Edgar Cahn, Leo Chen, Dr. Aram V. Chobanian, Jaekun 
Chung, Mario Ciano, Denis A. Cortese, MD, Hon. Leslie Crocker-Snyder, 
Victor Phillip Dahdaleh, Nicholas J. Daniello, MD, Dr. Joel Alan 
DeLisa, Kirti Desai, Dr. Akshay Desai, Michael J. Dowling, James J. 
Dowling, Blaise Durante, Hon. Jacob Eapen, MD, MPH, Mory Ejabat, 
Richard A. Elias, MD, Hani Findakly, PhD, Arthur Flegel, Jon Fortgang, 
Douglas Foshee, Philip Friedman, Cynthia R. Garrett, Obren Gerich, Joi 
Gordon, Col. R. L. Grabowski, USMC, MSGT Nicholas G. Grand, USAF 
(Ret.), Patrick Grant, Hon. Chuck Hagel, George Hamilton, William 
Harrington, Esq., Richard Heckmann, Col. Jack H. Jacobs, USA (Ret.), 
Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, Ik Joong Kang, Dr. Sarkis Kechejian, Don 
Keenan, Do-Young Kim, David E. Kimmel, Jr., Dr. Steven S. Koh, George 
J. Kostas, Les Kuczynski,

[[Page E1211]]

Joan Kuyper-Farver, Irene Ladas, LTC. Larry H. Lang, USAF, Rep. Tom 
Lantos, Dr. Edwin Pak-Wah Leung, Dr. John M. Levinson, Hon. Guillermo 
Linares, Harvey Mackay, Patrick J. Martucci, Thomas Mattia, CPT. Gary 
A. Maynard, USN, Mitchell Modell, Hon. Samuel Mok, Todd Morgan, C. 
Warren Moses, Dr. Vance Moss, Dr. Vince Moss, Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani, 
Maureen Murphy, Fereydoun Nazem, Hon. Liet Nguyen, Col. Tracey E. 
Nicholson, USA, Fr. Michael O'Connell, Dr. Kiran C. Patel, Antonio M. 
Perez, Asst. Chief Diana L. Pizzuti, L. Rafael Reif, PhD, RADM Stephen 
W. Rochon, USCG, James Rogers, Michael Rogers, Hon. Carlos A. Romero-
Barcelo, Ali A. Saberioon, Carlos A. Saladrigas, Dominick M. Servedio, 
Smita N. Shah, Donald Soffer, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Toomas M. Sorra, 
MD, Debra Brown Steinberg, Esq., Daniel J. Sullivan, Daniel J. Thomas, 
DDS, Gerald Turpanjian, Luis A. Valentin, Tai Nin Wang, Richard J. 
Wolff, Mahvash Yazdi, Dr. Gazi Zibari, Mira Zivkovich.

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