The Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Derek Dewan has a rich ethnic heritage. The son of Lebanese immigrants, Derek Dewan has built a successful career as an entrepreneur and was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1999.

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is an award sponsored by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO). NECO, established in 1986, focuses on preserving the diversity of American culture and promoting tolerance, respect, and understanding. One of the hallmarks of NECO’s efforts is in the preservation of the Ellis Island Monument, which stands as an icon of the American dream. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is awarded to United States citizens who have distinguished themselves as members of their own ethnic groups. Nominees are selected based on their actions and achievements in serving their communities and the nation as a whole. The medal has been awarded to governmental and business leaders, Nobel Prize winners, and everyday citizens who excel as members of their community.


Derek Dewan: The Jacksonville Public Library System

Derek Dewan earned his degree in accounting from South Florida University. Since then, he assumed the role of president at AccuStaff and led the company in a $22 million initial public offering launch. Derek Dewan complements his professional background by holding charitable and educational advisory positions with organizations such as the Executive Board of the Cox School of Business and the Jacksonville Public Library system.

Spanning 300,000 square feet, the Jacksonville Public Library system comprises a main library as well as 20 regional and neighborhood branches. The network of libraries operates under the motto, “Start Here. Go Anywhere!,” representing the system’s vast collection of books, electronic offerings, and specialty services such as adult literacy programs. The organization also serves the disabled community with its extensive Talking Books/Special Needs Library, featuring access to books on cassette, closed-captioned and described movies, and large-print and braille reading materials, among other services.

The Jacksonville Public Library system stands on a foundation of educational opportunities and investment in the Jacksonville community. In short, the library brings together people through a variety of materials that motivate, satisfy, and instruct.

Differences between Accountants and Certified Public Accountants

A graduate of the University of South Florida, Derek Dewan began his career as a certified public accountant (CPA) at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Within a short time, he achieved distinction as one of the youngest partners at the firm. Several years later, he was promoted to the position of managing partner. Derek Dewan worked as a CPA for 16 years.

Many individuals use the terms “accountant” and “certified public accountant” interchangeably, when in fact, only some overlap exists between the two functions. An accountant manages financial information and performs duties regarding how finances should be used. To become a CPA, an accountant must pass a series of tests given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In some cases, CPA candidates must also pass licensure exams given by the state in which they wish to practice.

Earning a CPA license qualifies an accountant to perform a wider range of jobs, including preparing income tax information, serving as a consultant, and performing audits and bookkeeping duties for individual and business clients. CPA licenses are not permanent. The AICPA requires 120 hours of continuing education courses every three years to maintain licensure.

Derek Dewan: Continuing Support for St. Jude’s

According to the National Cancer Institute at the National
Institutes of Health, cancer remains the leading cause of death in the
United States among children ages 14 and under, with one out of every
10,000 children developing pediatric cancer. With the continuing support
of its many advocates, including ALSAC professional advisory board
member Derek Dewan, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been
helping children and their families cope with cancer and other
life-threatening illnesses for more than 50 years. Those interested in
supporting St. Jude’s can do so in the following ways.

your time – St. Jude’s hosts a number of events and activities that
require volunteers, including the organization’s signature “Taste of New
York” event, math-a-thons, sporting events, and St. Jude walks in
various communities. The organization welcomes volunteers and
participants to help make these events successful.

Donate funds –
As a nonprofit organization, St. Jude’s relies mainly on public
donations to cover its daily operating cost of $1.8 million. For every
dollar received, 81 cents is allocated toward research and treatment at
the hospital.

Ellis Island Medal of Honor: Celebrating America’s Diversity By Derek Dewan

Founded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO), the Ellis Island Medal of Honor is awarded each year to 100 individuals, drawn from fields as disparate as business and literature, “who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups, while exemplifying the values of the American way of life.”

The awards were set up in 1986 during Liberty Weekend to celebrate the Statue of Liberty’s centennial. During the celebrations, President Reagan awarded the Medal of Liberty to naturalized citizens, such as Bob Hope. However, Italian-American and Asian-American names were conspicuously absent from the awardee list.

In response, NECO established the Medal of Honor to celebrate a more inclusive experience of America’s rich and diverse immigrant experience. Past winners of the award include Nobel Peace Prize recipient John Hume, renowned actor Anthony Quinn, and baseball great Joe DiMaggio.

About the author: Florida resident Derek Dewan is known for creating Accustaff, one of the largest staffing organizations in the United States. For his contributions in creating jobs and shareholder wealth, the Lebanese-American Dewan received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.