HARRISON, N.Y. – Harrison resident, founder and president of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation Ali Torre was among 90 people to receive the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, or NECO.
This year’s ceremony on Saturday, May 7, marked the 30th anniversary of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, according to a statement from the organization.
Torre, along with her husband, Major League Baseball legend Joe Torre, have helped thousands of people since the organization opened in 2002.
The organization aims to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives through education. Its signature program, Margaret’s Place, was named in memory of Joe’s mother and serves as a “safe room” where students can to talk about violence-related issues together with the support of a professional counselor trained in domestic violence intervention and prevention.
The Safe at Home Foundation currently operates 13 Margaret’s Places in the New York City area and Los Angeles and has reached more than 50,000 children who have witnessed violence in their homes, school and community and live in fear, according to the statement.
In addition to her work with the Safe at Home Foundation, Ali Torre has served as the board chair of the Development for the Caring Program for Children, helping to provide health care for uninsured children, working to prevent child abuse and manning a domestic violence and sexual assault hotline.
“On behalf of the Safe At Home Foundation, I am honored to accept the Ellis Island Medal of Honor this year,” she said. “Ellis Island reminds us that we are a nation of people that have welcomed newcomers for many years with a great sense of community – values that are of great importance to me, Joe and our Foundation.”
Since the Medals of Honor were founded, they have been awarded to six United States presidents, Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Gen. Colin Powell, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Rosa Parks, Yue-Sai Kan, Mike Wallace and Mia Farrow.
“Today, there is so much negative rhetoric about immigration. We forget that the great majority of our citizens celebrate a second heritage in addition to being Americans,” said NECO Chairman Nasser J. Kazeminy. “I believe that anyone who reaps the rewards of living in American must also take on the responsibilities of citizenship. Those responsibilities include being informed, being engaged and voting for our leaders.”
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most prestigious awards. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor and the recipients are listed each year in the Congressional Record.