Sheriff Earns Ellis Island Medal of Honor

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Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian

By Evan Lips

BILLERICA, Mass. (Lowell Sun) — Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian is heading to New York City to be awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his work establishing Boston’s Armenian Heritage Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a spokesman said this week.

“It really comes from his work as a state representative,” said Michael Hartigan, Koutoujian’s spokesman.

In 1999, Koutoujian first filed legislation to consider an Armenian remembrance site in Boston. It took about 10 years, but last September the park was established.

Hartigan said the Ellis Island Medals of Honor are awarded each year to Americans who “exemplify a life dedicated to community service.” Previous recipients include Rosa Parks, Muhammed Ali and former President Jimmy Carter.

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Awards are handed out by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organization (NECO). NECO spokesman James Moore said Koutoujian is one of 350 nationwide being honored.

“Each nominee is vetted by an advisory committee and final decisions are made by our chairman and his executive selection committee,” Moore said. “In consideration of Sheriff Koutoujian we took into account him being the lead sponsor of the Annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration.”

Hartigan said Koutoujian was nominated by Jim Kalustian, president of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, for his work with the Armenian Heritage Park and the Armenian Genocide remembrance.

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