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24 April 2008

Alabama Lead Singer & JSU Trustee Randy Owen
to Receive Prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor
in NYC Ceremony

Nashville, Tennessee...A Wonderful Honor for Randy - April 21, 2008 - Randy Owen, lead singer of the legendary group Alabama has been chosen to receive the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in a ceremony to be held in New York City on Saturday, May 10, 2008.

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor was established in 1986 to pay tribute to the immigrant experience and individual achievement. Each year since 1986, NECO has sponsored the Ellis Island Medals of Honor. The Medals are presented on Ellis Island, in a dramatic ceremony, to American citizens of diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their communities, their nation and the world. (See video:

The Honor is recognized by the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, and as such the names of all winners are listed in the Congressional Record.

Membership in the Society is reserved exclusively for Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients. This elite group is an American "Who's Who" of politics, industry, finance, sports, technology, education, entertainment and the arts. Past Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients include six Presidents of the United States, Nobel Prize winners, athletes, leaders of industry, artists and others whose work has made a lasting impact on humanity.

"This is one of the most memorable things to happen to my family and me," said Randy. "I am so proud to be able to represent a whole lot of my family. This just shows you as a kid growing up in poverty, with a lot of love and determination, you can do a lot in this great country."

As the lead singer and principal songwriter of Alabama, Randy Owen received over 150 industry awards including eight Country Music Association honors for "Entertainer of the Year," two Grammys, two People's Choice Awards and their very own star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame." They were named the "Artist of the Decade" by the Academy of Country Music and "Country Group of the Century" by the Recording Industry Association of America. In November 2005 Randy and his Alabama band mates received Country Music's highest honor, being inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame. Alabama is one of the 20 best-selling acts of all time racking up 21 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums, 42 number one singles and more than 73 million records sold.

Randy Owen has played a part in many different causes and charitable events throughout the years. His passion for helping others is evident through the types of causes he chooses to support. He has played an integral role in raising millions of dollars for schools, public service organizations, hospitals, youth ranches and scholarships through a myriad of events. But perhaps nothing touches his heart quite like his 19-year commitment to the kids of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

In 1989 Randy was asked to address the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville following the death of Danny Thomas who was to be the seminar's keynote speaker. Inspired by the dreams and determination Thomas, who founded St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Randy offered a challenge to those in attendance to accept Danny's dream of eradicating childhood cancers and other catastrophic diseases. Randy delivered the message well. Country radio accepted the challenge, and "Country Cares for St. Jude Kids" was born. The national radiothon program is embraced by hundreds of radio stations all over America, having raised over $315 million to date.

Last summer, Tony Thomas, son of Danny, presented Randy with the Founder's Award - an honor that Danny only bestowed on very special occasions. In June, Randy will be on hand to accept an award at the 10th annual NAB Education Foundation's Celebration of Service to America Awards on behalf of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids. In addition, The Friends of the National Library of Medicine organization have chosen him to receive the Paul G. Rogers Public Service Award for his many years of work with St. Jude at a ceremony in Washington, DC on May 13, 2008.

Randy recently recorded his debut solo project, One On One, which will hit stores later this year. He performs regularly with his new band and will hit the road on a nationwide tour beginning May 31.

About NECO: NECO was created in 1984 on the conviction of its founder, William Denis Fugazy, that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great. NECO's mission is simple-to honor our diverse Past, to advocate for positive change in the Present, and to build strong leaders for the Future. We do this with one goal in mind. To help create the world of the future today. NECO is a non profit 501(C) (3) organization with strategic alliances that allow us to support a range of diverse programs and insure that every dollar we spend goes to creating a better world in the future for us all.

NECO builds strong leaders for the future. NECO provides significant resources to programs and organizations that have proven their effectiveness in developing today's young people into tomorrow's leaders. NECO's work today helps ensure that the world of tomorrow will be a world without ignorance.

Visit Randy Owen's Website at

Source: NECO/Randy Owen

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