Lowell Sun (Massachusetts)
May 6, 2011 Friday


Sheriff earns Ellis Island Medal of Honor

BY: By Evan Lips

BILLERICA -- 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 yesterday.

"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.

Awards are handed out by the National Ethnic Coalition of
Organization. NECO spokesman James Moore said Koutoujian is one of 350
nationwide who will be honored tomorrow.

"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.