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On May 19, 2009 in the historic Great Hall on Ellis Island five esteemed individuals were honored by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. for their contributions to the American Tapestry. The 8th Annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, given annually to a select number of Port of New York and Ellis Island immigrants or their descendants, along with the B.C. Forbes Peopling of America Award, were presented by Stephen A. Briganti, President and CEO of the Foundation, and Thomas L. Strickland, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, in an 11:00 a.m. ceremony hosted by actress Candice Bergen at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. This year’s event initiated the B.C. Forbes Peopling of America Award, sponsored by the Forbes Family in honor of family patriarch B.C. “Bertie” Forbes, who immigrated to America from Scotland in 1904.
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This Award honors immigrants who arrived after the Ellis era or through another port. Gloria and Emilio Estefan both fled Cuba with their respective families after the rise of Fidel Castro. They met in a local Miami band in 1975 and the rest is history. Gloria is a world-renowned recording artist, and Emilio one of America’s most successful music and television producers. The Estefans support many charities including their Gloria Estefan Foundation dedicated to childhood illnesses, paralysis research and animals. Emilio wrote and produced Gloria’s latest chart topping album 90 Millas, a tribute to their native Cuba.
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