Three Indian-Americans receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from President Biden for Volunteer Service

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From left, Ashok Kapur, Elisha Pulivarti, Anand Poojary, and Pallavi Gowda at the award ceremony Jan. 21, 2022, in Northern Virginia. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Three Indian-Americans received Lifetime Achievement Awards, from President Joe Biden, for their lifelong commitment aimed at building a strong nation through volunteer service. These awardees received individual letters signed by the President.

Recently, the U.S.-India Small and Medium Enterprise Council (USISME) has been approved by the White House as an official certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Awards. As such, the Council nominated Dr. Pallavi Gowda, Anand Poojary, and Ashok Kapur for this award, and requested the White House to recognize them for their volunteerism in order to empower communities.

President & CEO of USISME, Elisha Pulivarti presented the awards to Dr. Gowda, Poojary, and Kapur at a recent event, Jan. 21, 2022. Creating Business Opportunities for Small Business, organized by the Council, in Northern Virginia. Pulivarti told News India Times, “the SME Council is honored to have recommended these three wonderful individuals for the Presidential recognition for their volunteer service. I have known them for a long time – their commitment and sincerity to public service is highly commendable.”

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Speaking to News India Times, Dr. Gowda said, “receiving the lifetime achievement award with the words, ‘with grateful recognition the AmeriCorps and the office of the President of the United States honors Pallavi Gowda with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for their lifelong commitment to building a strong nation through volunteer service’ signed President Joseph R Biden is one of the greatest honors I have ever received.”

Dr. Gowda is a physician and a veteran of the U.S. Army. She’s the founder and CEO of Premier health LLC, and also serves as the acting president and president-elect for the Rotary Club of Potomac, Maryland. She leads her humanitarian efforts through her involvement with the American Diversity Group and the Rotary Club in her free time.

Her latest creation, RotaCare Maryland Inc., a non-profit corporation, is an access center that is part of the larger RotaCare Free Clinics. It is a group of free clinics run by Rotarians looking to address community healthcare needs with a focus on social determinants of health. This volunteer alliance of medical professionals, organizations, and community members have dedicated themselves to providing free primary care and quality healthcare services to uninsured families and individuals with limited ability to pay for medical care.

“Our immediate need is to treat the over 9000 refugees from Afghanistan who have been forced to relocate to the DMV area and told to go to the ER for medical care. Through RotaCare Maryland, I am able to combine passion for medicine, humanitarian aid, collaborate with local hospital leaders and foster my Rotary connections,” she informed.

Dr. Gowda further added that for her service in the U.S. Army, she received the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Superior Unit Award. “I feel proud to have served my nation through military service. That recognition was much appreciated but, I was fulfilling my assigned duties that I agreed to take on then,” adding, in contrast, “receiving an award of such high recognition signed by the President of the United States for volunteer service is beyond comparison and I send U.S. India SME Council my heart felt gratitude for the nomination. To be more precise, I can honestly say I felt ‘weak in the knees’ from heartfelt gratitude.”

From left, Anand Poojary, Ashok Kapur, and Pallavi Gowda with thier awards at the award ceremony Jan. 21, 2022, in Northern Virginia. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times.

Crediting her parents and forefather for her success, she said, “I take pride in saying that I did not come this far with my efforts alone. Through the hard work and dedication of my forefathers, parents, and mentors, today I am privileged to serve others less fortunate.”

Poojary, a restaurateur and a community activist is the owner of Jewel of India, and Woodlands restaurants in Maryland. He is also the official caterer for the Embassy of India, and has been taking care of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s catering needs during his visits to the United States. Poojary has been able to develop a good relationship with the local community through his restaurants and charitable activities.

“Getting an award from the White House is always an honor. It is very encouraging to receive the award especially during the pandemic where we are going through difficult times. I have been supporting efforts of small business organizations by providing space in my restaurants to organize events. I take people who are visiting from India to Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland for assistance in small business setups. I love doing community service. As such, county officials and the SME Council have recognized my work and passion for helping the community,” Poojary told News India Times.

Another awardee, Ashok Kapur has been committed to volunteerism through his dedicated service and selfless acts. He continues to donate funds and medical supplies to nonprofit organizations looking for help during the pandemic. He is always involved in taking on public interest issues concerning communities, and frontline workers.

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