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NRIs get US Volunteer Service Award

Ravi Sankar and Durai Pandithurai received the award in recognition of their services to the needy.

india Updated: May 16, 2006 15:38 IST

Ravi Sankar and Durai Pandithurai of Indian origin were among the five Asian American recipients of the prestigious Volunteer Service Award, which was presented by US President George W Bush.

The President's Volunteer Service Award is the highest honour given in recognition of those who contributed to help those in need.

Speaking at a ceremony at the White House, President Bush praised the 14 million Americans claiming ancestry from the Asian Pacific region for demonstrating that "the American dream is within reach for all who study hard and persevere."

Ravi Sankar teaches needy students in Orlando, Florida. He teaches mathematics at the Chinmaya Mission of Central Florida and assists other students who cannot afford review courses.

While Salvation Army executive Durai Pandithurai helps families in Texas prepare their tax returns and create personal financial plans.

The others to receive the award were Sister Theresa Pham, Virginia Ganzon-Sturwold and Dotty Eng.

They assisted veterans and men and women in uniform or taught children to read and sheltered Gulf Coast hurricane victims.

"Through a commitment to educational excellence, you help raise standards and show that the "American dream" is within reach for all who study hard and persevere. Through your love for family and community, you help unite us as a people.

Through entrepreneurship and innovation you have strengthened our economy, creating jobs for others and thereby contributing to the opportunity of this nation," Bush said while talking about the 14 million Americans who could claim ancestry from the Asian Pacific region.

He further said America has thrived as a nation "because we've always welcomed newcomers, who, in turn, embrace our values and our way of life.

"Every immigrant who lives by these values makes our country better and makes our future brighter as one nation under God," he added.

"We're grateful to the many Asian Pacific Americans who serve our nation in many ways. I just honoured those who serve our nation by wearing the uniform, but there are all kinds of ways to serve America," Bush added.

Bringing some good news for the Asian Americans, the President further said he had signed an executive order that renewed the commission for another year.