Cleveland International Hall of Fame
2011 Class

The Cleveland International Hall of Fame will induct the 2011 Class on Wednesday May 11, 2011.

Be sure to mark May 9, 2012 in your calendar for next year's Cleveland International Hall of Fame induction.

More than 75 worthy candidates were nominated for the 2011 Class of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame. The selection committee was advised by members of the 2010 Class of the Hall of Fame.

The Cleveland International Hall of Fame Class of 2011 consists of (in alphabetical order) :

Click on an inductee's name to jump to their bio.

Alex Machaskee, member of the inaugural 2010 Class of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame will introduce Sam Miller who will give the keynote address.

Vijaya Emani at Indian Cultural Garden

Vijaya L. Emani

"You can have Excellence, You can have Excuses, but you cannot have both!"

Vijaya Lakshmi Emani, born in Kurnool, was the daughter of Indurani and G.Venkataramana Reddy. She was known to us as a spitfire, but came from a more modest and quiet beginning. As a young woman in India, she was awarded top merits at every level of her education while maintaining her youthful jovial personality.

She graduated in 1980 from Osmania University with a B.S. in Electronics and Communications Engineering and made her way to the United States in 1986. She received her M.S. in Computer Science from Cleveland State University. She overcame personal struggles in a divorce and raised two daughters, Sujata and Nirmala, with the help of her Mother.

Vijaya was a dedicated civic leader, striving to promote excellence within the Cleveland community. Vijaya came to the forefront of the Indian Community first working with the Northeast Ohio Telugu Association, then with FICA, and more recently with the Greater Cleveland Asian Community.

Despite the adversity that she had faced in life, Vijaya overcame them with the dignity and poise of any great leader. Vijaya was involved in a number of organizations working as an ambassador of cultural awareness and community. Through her presidency with the Federation of India Community Associations she has opened avenue for people who struggled like her, initiating single parent support groups and opened a discussion about immigrant domestic violence.

Vijaya worked diligently to help set up the India Cultural Garden in 2002, leading to the groundbreaking of the India Garden in 2005 and the installation of the Gandhi statue in 2006.

Vijaya was tragically struck and killed in 2009 by a tractor-trailer as she stood along the Turnpike in Portage County after her car became disabled.

She was an advocate of women's empowerment and community involvement, a single parent and Caregiver to her two daughters and mother, a Civic Leader to one of the largest minorities in the city of Cleveland, an Educator to those who sought her help, a friend to many, and a hero to the community.

Vijaya Emani will be inducted by Raj Pillai

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Luis Martinez

Luis Martinez

Luis Martinez was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and moved with his family from Puerto Rico to Lorain, Ohio when he was 3 years old. He graduated from Lorain Admiral King High School in 1966. He served with the U.S. Marines in Vietnam where he was awarded 2 Purple Hearts for wounds sustained in combat while serving with a Combined Action Group.

He contributed the chapter titled, "A Puerto Rican Marine" and is found on the cover of the New York Times Bestseller EVERYTHING WE HAD, An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Thirty-three American Soldiers Who Fought It by Al Santoli (Random House, 1981).

In 1973, Mr. Martinez moved to Cleveland, Ohio and joined the Recruitment and Training Program/Construction Equal Employment Plan (RTP/CEEP) to assist minority youth and women to enter the building and construction trade union apprenticeship programs by preparing them for the aptitude tests administered by the unions. Consequently he was promoted to Project Director; during his tenure with RTP he was afforded the opportunity to attend the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy, School of Government where he received a certificate in Manpower Administration.

In 1981, he went on to briefly serve with the Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training before being appointed by then Mayor, George V. Voinovich as an Executive Assistant where he served as the Liaison with the Hispanic Community and the Mayor's Office. Mr. Martinez served in this capacity for 6 years where he spearheaded endeavors with public and private organizations to enhance communication and opportunities for Hispanics, collaborated with others in the creation of organizations such as Esperanza Inc., (formerly the Cleveland Hispanic Scholarship Fund) the integration of Latinos into the Police, Fire and other City of Cleveland Departments as well as advocating for Hispanic businesses that saw contract awards increase by over $2,000,000.

In 1986, Mr. Martinez was awarded a scholarship by the National Urban Fellows, Inc. He received a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York. Upon returning to Cleveland he joined the City of Cleveland, Dept. of Community Development where he served in various capacities as a Project Director until his retirement in 2010.

Mr. Martinez is married to Nora, who retired as a teacher with the Cleveland Municipal School District. His son Luis Carlos graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine where he is presently the Associate Dean of Admissions. Daughter Lynna M. Martinez received her Bachelor's Degree from OSU and a Masters Degree in Education Policy and Reform from the University of Pittsburgh. She is presently the Director of Student Development for the Northside Urban Pathways Charter School in Pitts., Pa.

Luis Martinez will be inducted by Andres Gonzalez

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Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.

Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.

Theologian, pastor and civic leader, the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. is one of America's most influential leaders. He was born in La Grange, GA. He earned his bachelor's degree from Morehouse College, his master of divinity degree from Morehouse School of Religion/Inter-denominational Theological Center and his doctor of ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary.

In 2008, Reverend Moss retired from Olivet Institutional Baptist Church located in Cleveland, Ohio following thirty-three years of distinguished service. Prior to this service, he held pastoral positions at the Mount Olive Baptist Church in La Grange, GA, the Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Lockland, OH and as co-pastor with Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA.

Reverend Moss has been actively involved in advocating for the achievement of education, civil and human rights and social justice issues for all of his adult life. His board memberships have included The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Foundation. Dr. Moss served as the Chairman of the Morehouse College Board of Directors for over ten years. He served as board member and Regional Director of SCLC during Dr. King's tenure as founding president. He also served as national board member and trustee of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change.

His work in the international community has taken him to Hong Kong, Brazil, Taiwan, Japan, West Africa, South Africa Israel, India and Switzerland. He served as an advisor to former President Carter at Camp David and in 1994 he was the special guest of former president Clinton at the Peace Treaty signing between Israel and Jordan. He formally served on President Obama's White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership Council. In 2009, he co-lectured with Rajmohan Gandhi, the Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, during a multi-city tour of India illuminating the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

Reverend Moss is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Role Model of the Year Award from the National Institute for Responsible Fatherhood and Family Development in 1992 and the Leadership Award from the Cleveland chapter of the American Jewish Committee in 1996. He was inducted into the 2007 Class of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. In 2004, Dr. Moss was bestowed the unique honor of the Lyman Beecher Lectureship on Preaching, Yale University. He was twice named by Ebony Magazine as one of America's Greatest Black Preachers. He also holds six honorary degrees from colleges and universities in Ohio, Georgia, and Arkansas. Morehouse College recently named their newest dormitory suites in honor of Dr. Moss.

His service to Ohio and the United States has been recognized by Governors of Ohio, the Ohio House of Representatives, Ebony Magazine, the Cleveland Press, the Call and Post, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Black Professional Association of Cleveland, the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland, Project Love: Remember the Children Foundation, The Cleveland Jewish Committee and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Alpha Phi Alpha, the Shriners,and Rainbow/Push to name a few.

Dr. Moss is a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Sigma Pi Phi Boulé, to name a few. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to discuss Current Trends in Religion. In 1997, in conjunction with University Hospitals Health System and Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Dr. Moss provided the vision to establish the Otis Moss, Jr.-University Hospitals Health Center that offers a wide range of medical services to the greater Cleveland community.

Reverend Moss is married to Mrs. Edwina Hudson Moss and is the Father of Kevin Moss, Daphne Moss (deceased) and Otis Moss, III. Together they are the proud grandparents of five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. will be inducted by Congressman Louis Stokes

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Mayor Ralph J. Perk

Ralph J. Perk

The City of Cleveland's 52nd mayor, Ralph J. Perk, was well known for his human rights advocacy and his anti-communist, anti-totalitarian stance.

Before becoming Mayor, Perk served Ward 13 (Broadway/East 55th area) as its council member for five terms. In 1962, Perk, a Republican, won the first countywide election in Cuyahoga County in fifty years, and was elected as Auditor. He was re-elected to this position for two more terms. He had two unsuccessful attempts at a run for Mayor. In 1971 he won the Republican primary, beating out George Voinovich. He went on to win the general election succeeding Carl Stokes. He was re-elected again in 1973 and 1975. He lost in 1977 to Dennis Kucinich.

He was respected not only in Cleveland, but on a national level often being welcomed into the halls of Congress and the White House with close ties to Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He was able to turn those relationships into federal dollars for Cleveland, the city he loved so very much.

He was a strong proponent of regionalism of public services, and thus created the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. It was under his tutelage that the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was created. Chester Commons, Public Auditorium and Midszenty Plaza are all the results of his vision. He signed a 25 year lease agreement with Art Modell and the Cleveland Browns.

Mayor Perk never knew the boundaries of race, ethnicity or religion. Perk organized and ran the American Nationalities Movement, which is an agency which represents 35 nationality and ethnic groups. It was the result of his insistence that President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law Captive Nations Week, the third week in July. Every president, up to and including Barack Obama has continued the declaration of Captive Nations Week.

Perk is said to reflect the best of all things Cleveland. He lived in his Broadway-Fleet home with his wife, Lucille, their six sons and their daughter. He was a devout Roman Catholic and a faithful family man. He was respected in political circles as well as social and private circles. He spent countless hours calling attention to Cleveland's ethnic and cultural diversity, understanding the value this brought to potential investors in the city.

A man with deep insight into Cleveland's future he established the Office of International Trade at City Hall. He was pro-business which insured new development for this city for years beyond his term. Ralph Perk understood what it meant to be one of the people. He never forgot his ethnic background or his roots. He worked hard to maintain and celebrate cultural diversity in the City of Cleveland.

Perk died in 1999 leaving the people who knew him and the city who loved him better off for his efforts.

Mayor Ralph J. Perk will be inducted by Justice Terrence O'Donnell

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Tony Petkovsek

Tony Petkovsek

Tony Petkovsek has been on daily polka radio since 1961, an unprecedented 50 years.

His popular music and community service show, he produces and announces, is interspersed with interviews of civic, travel and entertainment personalities and is heard for two hours, Monday thru Friday from 2 till 4PM and Saturday from Noon till 2PM on WELW-1330AM and also simulcasts worldwide on the internet at WWW. 247PolkaHeaven.Com.

For some 40 years the programs had been done on location at the former Tony's Polka Village/Polka Tour Headquarters of Kollander World Travel on East 185th Street and now from his own studio broadcasting live at his condo-home at Harbortowne Point in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. Prior to 1981 he was on the FM stations of WXEN, WZAK, WBOE and Cleveland Public Radio WCPN.

As a former Vice President and co-owner of Kollander Travel, Tony originated the very first polka music tour in 1967, and hosted and arranged for thousands of polka fans on nearly every continent and has been known from Alaska, Hawaii, and Europe to South America, the Carribean and even Australia, as Cleveland's Polka Ambassador. He remains with the travel agency as group travel consultant.

Tony established a core volunteer booster group, his own Cleveland Slovenian Radio Club committee. Many community projects ensued over the years raising thousands of dollars through "Radiothons" for the Slovene Home for the Aged and for the then new independent country of Slovenia to be recognized by the US government in 1991. This Radio Club sponsored Thanksgiving Festival events since the early '60's at the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair Avenue; St.Joseph High School on E. 185th Street; and for the last two decades at the first class Marriott Hotel at Key Center in downtown Cleveland, attracting thousands of fans from over 20 States, Canada, and Europe as the premiere Cleveland-Slovenian style event marking the show's anniversary.

In 1987, almost 25 years ago, Tony Petkovsek called the initial meeting that eventually formed the American Slovenian Polka Foundation, sponsors of the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame, where he has served as founding chairman ever since. He was enshrined by popular vote as a Lifetime Achiever in 1992. With some 1500 members, the organization boasts of a recognized music museum and retail store located in Euclid, Ohio.

Tony also helped to organized some of Cleveland's largest outdoor festivals on E. 185th Street as a volunteer on the board of Northeast Shores Development Corporation. As a former resident and businessman in the E. 185th Street former Mayors Voinovich and White appointed Tony to the Board of Zoning Appeals at Cleveland City Hall. He later served Governor Voinovich on the Ohio Arts Council and also emceed two gubernatorial innaugurations in Columbus for longtime friend George Voinovich.

Some 100 awards,and proclamations were presented to Tony Petkovsek in his 50 years on the scene by international, national, state, county and city representatives and organizations for his contributions the community. Amongst the most outstanding were 44 years ago in 1967 at age 25, the Slovenian Man of the Year as the youngest individual for the Federation of Slovenian Homes. In 1991 he was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

With the distinction of hosting longest daily polka and nationality radio show he credits the assistance from colleagues Alice Kuhar, Mark Tome, Duke Marsic, Patty Sluga and Joey Tomsick. He is Vice President and an owner of WELW radio along with Ray Somich.

Tony Petkovsek considers his "family as those associated directly with him plus the thousands who have followed his promotions and good will.

Tony Petkovsek will be inducted by Terry Stewart

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Gerry Quinn as Grand Marshall of 2011 St Patrick's Day Parade

Gerald M. Quinn

Gerald M. Quinn, an award winning broadcaster and community leader born in Garracloon, County Mayo (pop. 44) and now living in Euclid, has played a decisive part in keeping Cleveland area Irish in touch with their heritage. He conceived and chaired the efforts that led to the founding of Cleveland's Irish American Club - East Side in 1978 and the Mayo Society in 2004.

His weekly show, Gerry Quinn Irish Radio (WHK 1420), 31 years on the air, has received the Achievement in Radio Award (A.I.R) and was named Best Ethnic Program in Northeast Ohio.

Gerald Michael Quinn was introduced to the achievements of civilization at the local National School a few miles from Ballina, a school which has been educating Irish youth since 1855. He attended under the watchful eye of his own father, Liam Quinn, its schoolmaster.

It was in Cleveland, Ohio that he would meet his bride, Nellie Stack, the daughter of a Kerry man and a colleen from Wexford. Gerry and Nellie reared a daughter, Mary Ellen, and five sons, Patrick, Sean, Kevin, Gerald and Michael.

It was as a project manager for a Philadelphia construction and engineering company that Gerry traveled to Dublin in 1979 to manage construction of a pharmaceutical plant. This subsequently led to a long phone conversation about Ireland with his friend Leo D'Arcy, that was taped for a radio station D'Arcy managed in Willoughby. He signed Gerry on the spot, launching the lad from Garracloon on his own 3 decades long career as a broadcaster. Gerry was honored as Grand Marshall of the 2011 Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Gerry Quinn will be inducted by Tom Scanlon

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Albert B. Ratner

Albert B. Ratner

Albert B. Ratner is co-chairman of the board of Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

He has been in the commercial and residential real estate industry with Forest City since 1951. Ratner is well known as a long time community booster for Cleveland and a leader in its Jewish community. He is a life trustee of the Cleveland Jewish Community Federation and a member of the International Council of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

In the company's hometown of Cleveland, Ratner was the driving force behind Forest City's dramatic redevelopment of the Terminal Tower and the former Union Terminal into Tower City Center, a mixed-use complex with a multi-floor mall, office space and hotel. That project, which was completed in 1990, is widely regarded as the catalyst for the rebirth of downtown Cleveland throughout the 1990s.

Ratner has always been involved in local activities. He is currently an honorary trustee of Shoes & Clothes for Kids and is on the advisory committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Foundation. In the past, Ratner has served as a board member for civic groups, including the Cleveland Initiative for Education, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the United Way. He has also served on corporate boards for American Greetings and RPM, Inc.

Nationally, he is on the board of governors of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and is an honorary trustee of the Enterprise Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the United Jewish Communities.

Ratner is a graduate of Michigan State University, with a degree in forestry. He also holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from Long Island University and an honorary doctor of engineering degree from Polytechnic University, both in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is an adjunct visiting professor for the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute.

Albert Ratner will be inducted by Sam Miller

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Gia Hoa Ryan

Gia Hoa Ryan

Luong Thi Gia Hoa Ryan was born in Viet Nam, the oldest of twelve children. She worked for U.S. Government as Interpreter and Secretary during the Vietnam War and supervised local workers for the U.S. Government.

She immigrated to United States in 1971.

Her vast experience includes opening and owning The Moonlight Restaurant in Lorain as well as various other food service businesses. She is currently the Manager and Director of Sai Gon Plaza.

Ms Ryan has a long history in both government work and community involvement. She served as a Board Member for the Lorain County Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. She is a Services Board Member, for the Community Relations Board of the City of Cleveland where she has served under 3 Mayors. She was appointed to this position by Cleveland City Council.

From 1975 on she worked on resettlement of Indochinese, including Vietnamese, refugees and immigrants. She worked with various Community Groups on health, educational, and social issues.

Ms. Ryan is also a teacher and lecturer on Asian Food, culture, and society. She started the Asian Women's Support Group in early 1980's and has been active with the Lorain International Festival, including hosting the 1995 Festival which honored Vietnam and the Vietnamese people Active with various Vietnam Veteran groups as well as Vietnamese Vietnam Veteran groups.

Gia Hoa Ryan is the founder and Executive Director of the Friendship Foundation Of American-Vietnamese which has conducted more than 20 Missions to Vietnam, sponsored over 1,000 volunteer Workers, and provided almost $15 million in funds, Supplies, medicines, medical equipment, school supplies, services, and other assistance to Vietnam.

She had the original idea for the Asian Community Project which is now Part of Bridgeway and was coordinator for the Asian Community Project at Bridgeway from 1997 to 2003. This Project provided mental health care to hundreds of Asian, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian families. The project also provided citizenship classes and English as a Second Language Classes so older people and seniors could learn English.

Ms. Ryan has hosted delegations from Vietnam to Cleveland for establishing business, educational, and cultural relationships. She was a participant in the International Law Conference in Viet Nam. She hosted 15 lawyers from Viet Nam for a month's long professional visit to America and to Cleveland area in 2008.

Gia Hoa has two children; Linda Mia Shea and Thomas J. Ryan, and two grand children Samantha An and Isabella Gia Hoa Shea.

Gia Hoa Ryan will be inducted by Margaret W. Wong

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Lucretia Stoica

Lucretia Stoica

Lucretia Stoica was born in Youngstown, Ohio. As a young child she travelled to Romania where she grew up and completed her University studies obtaining a Master Degree in Law, Literature and Philosophy.

As an American abroad, she was among the first to be repatriated by the American government after World War II.

Upon return to Cleveland Lucretia joined the staff of the International Institute of the YWCA, a non-profit agency now known as the International Services Center. She served the agency first as a case worker, then as a Deputy Director, and finally as its Executive Director for 26 years. On June 1, 1988 she retired after 41 years of service.

Included in her professional activities were free lance writing for the Voice of America and defending aliens in immigration and deportation proceedings at Ellis Island. For a few years she was a volunteer instructor for the Outreach Program of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

During the early 1950s she organized a series of conferences and festivals promoting the cultural background of the nationality groups in the Cleveland area and emphasizing the outstanding contribution made to the city and state of Ohio by the immigrants. These programs were later used as a model by other community groups and organization.

In the late 1960s, under a considerable grant from the Ford Foundation, she founded, organized and administered a new organization "PROJECT BRIDGE", with the specific mission of bridging the gap between the nationality and other ethnic groups bringing about better understanding, appreciation and cooperation among them. For six years she headed two agencies: Nationalities Services Center and Project Bridge.

In the early 1970s, with three other ladies she, co-founded the LANGUAGE BANK OF CLEVELAND, providing free Translation and interpreting services to hospitals, educational institutions, courts, visitor's bureau, and many other public and private organizations.

For four decades she re-edited and published the Nationality Directory, founded by journalist Theodor Andrica. The directory contained the names, addresses, leadership and a short history of over 2000 different ethnic organizations in the State of Ohio.

For several years she chaired the Ohio Refugee Advisory Council and was a founder of the Cleveland Refugee Resettlement Committee dealing with legislation benefiting refugees. For thirty years she edited and published a News Bulletin providing information on the latest legislation and regulation concerning immigrants and refugees. She testified on many occasions before congress and local public hearings about proposed legislation.

She served on many boards and committees. Among them are the following:

  • Ohio Arts Council
  • Greater Cleveland Round Table
  • Board of Overseers, Case Western Reserve University
  • Cleveland International Programs
  • Cleveland Bi-Centennial Commission
  • The International Women's Year
  • Sounding Board, Cleveland Playhouse Square Foundation
  • Zonta International
  • CCC Cultural Heritage Committee
  • Cleveland Commission on Aging
  • The Nationality Movement
  • Senior Ethnic Fund (Board Chairman)
  • Ohio Refugee Advisory Council (Chairman)
  • NSC Women's Committee

She is the recipient of numerous civic and professional awards from various organizations, educational institutions, public officials and nationality groups.

Lucretia Stoica will be inducted by Ken Kovach

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Keynote Speaker

Sam Miller

Samuel H. Miller

Samuel H. Miller is co-chairman of the board, and treasurer of Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

A key stakeholder since 1947, Miller has overseen various areas of Forest City. He is particularly credited with spearheading the Company’s move into land development.

In addition to his commitment to Forest City, Miller is actively engaged in the Cleveland community and is a nationally recognized leader in the Jewish community. Miller has served on the board of trustees of the following organizations: WVIZ, Urban League, Jewish National Fund, Baldwin-Wallace College, Crime Stoppers, Police Memorial, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Cleveland State University, Notre Dame College, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation and John Carroll University.

In addition, Miller is a Lifetime Honorary Trustee of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland and National Conference of Christians and Jews, and an Honorary Trustee of Case Western Reserve University. He also participates in the Greater Cleveland Roundtable and serves on the board of directors and executive committee of The Cleveland Clinic. In 2003, he was made a Distinguished Fellow of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Miller is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University, and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. He also served the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946.

Sam Miller has received many dozens of honors and awards including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award.

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