A local physician and organization founder has been selected for an award.

Dr. John Thomas, the founder of Operation H.O.P.E., has been selected by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations to receive the 2012 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

NECO supports new education initiatives and cutting-edge medical research endeavors, and partners with humanitarian organizations nationally and internationally.

The Ellis Island Medals of Honor pay tribute to different ancestry groups of which the United States is comprised.

The May 12th event will include all branches of the United States Armed Forces, as well as dancers in native costume, a gala dinner at the historic Great Hall on Ellis Island, and a fireworks display designed to illuminate the Statue of Liberty.

Thomas was selected for this award based on a number of contributions to medicine and foreign aid through his surgical practice and Operation HOPE.

Operation HOPE (Helping Outreach for People Everywhere) is a non-profit organization that offers community service both locally and internationally, through men’s and women’s bible studies, fundraising for purchasing food, education, and supplies. Trips are also carried out multiple times per year to Haiti and Iraq to provide medical services, such as surgeries and training local medical staff.

More on Operation HOPE is available here.