IACA celebrates President’s Day by “Honoring our Heroes”

IACA Team & Supporters

Suresh Bodiwala

CHICAGO: Indian American Cultural Association (IACA) celebrated President’s Day on Saturday, February 27 2021 at the Mall of India in  Naperville, a Chicago suburb To commemorate President’s Day, IACA honored Our Heroes, Organizations, and Community leaders for their excellence in their respective fields. Year 2020 was the most challenging that brought all of us together cutting across all barriers and uniting us in a most caring manner.

This Award is being given to acknowledge the efforts and services of various organizations especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and to highlight the vision to keep up the same spirit of comradeship throughout 2021 and beyond.

Program started with the American and Indian National Anthem by an 11-year-old boy, Shlok Jaiswal. A welcome note was presented by Shanu Sinha, the Secretary of IACA She spoke about the organization’s work and community support it has been providing during this pandemic time.

A video recorded message from Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi was played for attendees after the National Anthem. Mrs. Vinita Gulabani, the President of IACA addressed the awardees and guests. The Guest of Honor Mrs. Santosh Kumar, the Executive Director of Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS), thanked IACA for it efforts to serve people in need during these COVID times, and also paid tribute to Vinita Gulabani’s parents who passed away last December.

CIW President Mrs. Madhu Uppal announced two special honorary plaques.  Hariram and Mohini Panjwani Legacy Award were presented to two associations, Ray Graham Association and Turning Pointe Autism Foundation in Naperville, for serving special needs children and adults. Following that, Vasavi Chakka, the candidate for Naperville City Council and Rajesh Narayan, candidate for IPSD School Board 204 in the April 6th 2021 election addressed the crowd.

Mrs. Pratibha Jairath, renowned singer and entrepreneur took care of the podium and invited the heroes on stage to be honored. Krishna Bansal, Chairman Indian Community Outreach at City of Naperville thanked IACA for their efforts in serving the community. TV Asia Chief Vandana Jhingan, Adbhut Media Founder Gurmeet Dhalwan, Asian Media USA Founder Suresh Bodiwala and Desi Junction, were honored for their continued support to the community for their services.

The organizations under Dr. Vijay Prabhakar were honored for standing by the side of IACA; American Multi Ethnic Coalition (AMEC) – (Women’s Chair – Rani Yousefzai)

Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force (MEATF) U. S. Congressman Danny K Davis
7th Congressional District – Vice Chair Mrs. Chand Nasim
World Federation of Tamil Youth (WFOTY) – Mrs. Alli Dhanraj, Vice president 
Indian American Business Coalition (IABC) – (Secretary – Anica Dubey)

Also, representatives from multiple organizations were honored for their unwavering support to IACA. Kids who volunteered for IACA at multiple occasions during the pandemic times, were honored. Kids namely – Ria Raj, Nysa Ranjan, Neelay Ranjan, Shlok Jaiswal, RiddhimaBembey, Sriya Nitta, Aarushi Ved, AkshayWagh, Aarya Mishra and Rihan Shah.

Dr. Ajit Pant, Founders and current President of the US India Chamber of Commerce, Midwest, USA and Rakesh Malhotra, Founder Five Global Values were invited to be honored for their contribution to the community and they recited their beautiful poems.

 Among the individual awardees were, Dr. Chandrakant Modi, Dr. SuneelaHarsoor, Dr. Meenalochani Narayanan, Dr. Mehar Madhavan, Dr. Usha Kartan, Dr. Kamal Patel, Aftab Monty Baig, Ranjana Gulati, Anita Beri, Anica Beri, Ravi Govindaraj, Sammy Atkinson, Kamlesh Bedi, Pratibha Jairath, Syed Hussaini, Richa Pal, Raquel Gavins, Amna Shah, and Mariam Ghaniwala.

Also, Shri Hari Ram and Mohini Panjwani Awards were presented to schools that serve with special needs. Vinita’s parents left for Heavenly abode in Dec 2020 and legacy Awards was A Tribute in their memoriam.

IACA works for Children and adults with Autism and Special needs and bridges the gap between Indian and American cultures.