Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor by the National Ethnic Coalition (NECO) at a ceremony on this historic site on May 11.
Each year since 1986, NECO has honored the nation's diverse past by sponsoring the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, which 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 for their outstanding contributions to their communities, their nation and the world.
“I am truly humbled to receive this meaningful recognition,” said McGovern. “I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the courage of my grandparents, who came to the United States through Ellis Island to escape persecution and find opportunities. Their hard work and perseverance created a foundation for our family to plant roots and realize the American Dream. The strength they displayed serves as a daily inspiration to me, and I hope my service at the American Red Cross continues to honor the sacrifices they made.”
McGovern was one of nearly 100 honorees at the 2013 event, and other winners included Mia Farrow, actress, humanitarian, and UNICEF goodwill ambassador; recording artist Dionne Warwick; Dick Vermeil, former Super Bowl-winning NFL coach; and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
Past Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients include six Presidents of the United States, Nobel Prize winners, athletes, and 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.
““With our Medalists, we will see America at its best,” said Nasser J. Kazeminy, Chairman of NECO. “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.”