ADA trustee receives Ellis Island Medal of Honor
— The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations on May 9 awarded Dr. Chad P. Gehani, ADA 2nd District trustee, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which is awarded annually to Americans who dedicated their lives to community service.
Dr. Gehani was among 100 leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government honored this year, including former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, journalist Meredith Vieira and New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera.
"I consider this honor a celebration of my 40 years of being a 'new' American," Dr. Gehani said. "To this day, I have never forgotten how I got here, and I have made it my mission to give back to the people of New York State, the United States, and the world by teaching dentistry and helping impoverished people wherever I can."
Dr. Gehani said he came to the U.S. from India when he was 24 years old.
"I had just $7 in my pocket," he said. "But I was determined, and through hard work, I completed my studies at Columbia University, married and raised three children, who also became doctors."
According to NECO, medalists "are individuals who preserve and celebrate the history, traditions and values of their ancestry while exemplifying the values of the American way of life, and who are dedicated to creating a better world for us all."
Dr. Gehani, who maintains a private dental practice in Jackson Heights, New York, is a clinical associate professor at New York University College of Dentistry for the past 33 years. He is formerly the president of the New York State Dental Association, the Queens County Dental Society and the Indian Dental Association (USA).
"A first generation American, I have achieved the American Dream while still holding tight to my Indian heritage," Dr. Gehani said.
NECO, which is committed to the restoration and maintenance of Ellis Island, was created with a mission to honor and preserve the diversity of the American people and to foster tolerance, respect and understanding among religious and ethnic groups.
For the list of the 2015 recipients, visit the website