A California-based Keralite doctor has bagged this year's Ellis Island Medal of Honor, established by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organisations (NECO) in the US.
Jacob Eapen, who will receive the award May 12, said he was "really delighted". "This is certainly going to be a boost for all my future endeavours," Eapen told IANS on telephone from California.
The Ellis Island Medals of Honor are presented annually to US citizens of diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their own ethnic groups, their ancestral countries and to the US.
Hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, Eapen did his schooling at the Sainik School here. He got his medical degree from the Trivandrum Medical College in 1976 and paediatric training at the Christian Medical College in Ludhiana.
His next stop was as director of a paediatric unit in the Agha Khan Hospital in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, in 1980. In 1988, Eapen was appointed Philippines' health advisor by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
In 1990, Eapen was appointed director of research and public heath programmes at the International Health Services, Mountain View, California. He is currently a paediatrician with the Alameda County Health Services where he reaches out to the poor children in Oakland and Newark.
NECO serves as an umbrella for over 250 groups that celebrate, educate and nurture ethnic pride, heritage, culture, tradition and commerce.
Past medallists include six US presidents as well as Nobel Prize winners and leaders of industry, education, arts, sports and government.
Both the US House of Representatives and Senate have officially recognised the Ellis Island Medals of Honor. The names of its recipients are listed in the Congressional record.