BASEBALL LEGEND JOE TORRE, INTERNATIONAL STATESMAN SENATOR GEORGE J. MITCHELL, TENNIS SUPERSTAR MARTINA NAVRATILOVA AND BUSINESS ICON LEE IACOCCA HONORED AT 2011 ELLIS ISLAND FAMILY HERITAGE AWARDS
April 13, 2011 (Ellis Island, NY) – Today in the historic Great Hall on Ellis Island four esteemed individuals were honored by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. for their contributions to the American Dream.
The 10th 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, which honors the lives of immigrants who arrived at another time or through another port, were presented today in an 11:00 a.m. ceremony hosted by Deborah Norville of Inside Edition. This year’s Awards featured a salute to the Statue of Liberty on her 125th anniversary and the 25 years since her historic restoration.
The 2011 Ellis Island Family Heritage Award recipients are:
SPORTS — Joe Torre
The Brooklyn-born Torre was recently named MLB’s Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations. He concluded his third and final season as manager of the LA Dodgers in 2010, having led them to the National League Championship Series in 2008 and 2009. He managed the New York Yankees for 12 seasons, leading them to four World Series Championships. His Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation educates and supports teens and families to end the cycle of abuse at home. Torre’s mother Margaret Rofrano emigrated from Salerno, Italy through Ellis Island in 1911.
GOVERNMENT SERVICE — Senator George J. Mitchell
A native of Waterville, Maine, Mitchell held the post of Senate Majority Leader from 1989 until his retirement in 1995. He served as President’s Clinton’s special representative to Northern Ireland and is currently Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. Mitchell’s reputation for impartiality has led to his being asked to oversee committees assuring the accountability of many high-profile organizations including the Olympic Games, the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund and Major League Baseball. His mother Mintaha Saad arrived from Lebanon in 1920 through Ellis Island.
B.C. FORBES PEOPLING OF AMERICA AWARD - SPORTS — Martina Navratilova
Born in Prague, in communist Czechoslovakia in 1956, she defected at the U.S. Open in 1975 at the age of 18. In 1981 she received her U.S. citizenship. Dominating the sport for years, she won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 41 Grand Slam doubles titles. As one of the first openly gay sports figures, Navratilova continues to blaze a trail for LGBT equality through her philanthropic work.
A SPECIAL TRIBUTE — Lee Iacocca
As the Founding Chairman of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Lee Iacocca spearheaded the historic restorations of these national treasures. He spent over 40 years in the automotive industry, most notably at Chrysler Corporation, where he became one of the most famous businessmen of his era after rescuing the company from bankruptcy in 1979. In 1984, he founded the Iacocca Foundation, dedicated to educational projects and diabetes research. His father Nicola came through Ellis Island from San Marco in 1910, and again in 1921 as a citizen bringing his Italian bride, Antoinetta.
Torre, Mitchell and Iacocca received a framed copy of the original ship’s passenger manifest documenting the arrival of their family through Ellis Island. The Foundation’s database of ship’s passenger arrivals available at the American Family Immigration History Center® at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and online at www.ellisisland.org documents the arrival records of the more than 25 million immigrants, travelers and crew members who came through America’s Golden Door and the Port of New York from 1892-1924.
Navratilova, recipient of the B.C. Forbes Peopling of America® Award sponsored by the Forbes Family, joins a stellar group of newer immigrants or those who arrived through other ports. The stories of immigrants like them, as well as those who came to this country before the Ellis Island era, will be told in the new $20 million expansion of the Museum—The Peopling of America® Center. The Foundation is currently raising funds for the completion of the project. Upon the Center’s completion, the Museum will be renamed Ellis Island: The National Museum of Immigration.
For more information, visit www.ellisisland.org.
About The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit
organization founded in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic
restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, working in partnership
with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to
restoring the monuments, the Foundation created a museum in the Statue’s base
and the world-class Ellis Island Immigration Museum, The American Immigrant
Wall of Honor® and the American Family Immigration History Center®. Its
endowment has funded over 200 projects at the islands.
Peg Zitko (212) 561-4517
Elizabeth Oravetz (212) 561-4542