Arab American and Chaldean Council to Honor Michigan Residents


 The Arab American and Chaldean Council, a nonprofit human service organization serving southeast Michigan, will honor several Michigan residents and a Detroit-based company at its 36th Annual Civic and Humanitarian Awards Gala on Oct. 10 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. 

This year’s black-tie optional event will attract more than 1,000 guests, including Alia Bouran, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States, who is slated to attend; national and state political leaders; members of the judiciary; and the top names in corporate, educational institutions and foundations. Funds raised through sponsorships, contributions and ticket sales will benefit ACC’s educational and refugee initiatives.

The program, which will be presided over by WDIV-TV (Channel 4) Chuck Gaidica, and will feature ACC Chairman Abe Munkakh and President and CEO Haifa Fakhouri presenting awards to:

The Honorable Arlan B. Meekhof – State Leadership Award
Michigan Senate Majority Leader Meekhof serves Ottawa County in the 30th State Senate District. Elected in 2010, he is in his second term as majority floor leader. The chair of the Government Operations and Michigan Capitol Committees, he previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2007-2010, becoming assistant leader in 2009, and on the Olive Township Board of Trustees beginning in 1996.  He later worked as township supervisor. He resides is Olive Township.

The Honorable Tim Griemel – State Leadership Award
In his second term in Michigan’s House of Representatives and as House Democratic Leader, Griemel represents Michigan’s 29th District and serves on the House Government Operations Committee.  Prior to joining the Legislature, he was an attorney focusing on labor, employment and civil rights law, a member of the Oakland County Commission and a school board member and president.

Griemel has served as a board member for Transform Pontiac Now, Pontiac Youth Assistance and the Pontiac Veterans Memorial Committee and has had involvement with the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce and Optimist Club and Oakland County Veterans Group. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and law degree from the University of Michigan.

Jim Murray – Community Service Award
As president of AT&T Michigan, Murray is responsible for regulatory, legislative, and external affairs and community and industry relations throughout Michigan.  He previously served as the company’s vice president of government affairs, as well as worked for more than a decade in legislative offices, including as deputy chief of staff for the Michigan Speaker of the House.

A board member of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, he also serves on the board for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Economic Club and Downtown Detroit Partnership, among others. The Central Michigan University graduate is a resident of Okemos.

Nidhal Garmo – Humanitarian Award
A native of Iraq, Garmo moved to Michigan in 1980. After graduating from Wayne State University, she worked at the former Perry Drugs and opened her own successful pharmacy, Nidhal’s Pharmacy, as part of Sav-Mor, in Farmington Hills.

In 2003, through her involvement with World Medical Relief, she experienced firsthand the struggle that many individuals in her home country were experiencing on a daily basis. In 2005, she launched One World Medical Mission to help those living in poverty and who are in need of medical attention due to war.  The organization collects medicine, as well as medical and surgical supplies, from charity organizations and Garmo personally delivers them to hospitals and families in Iraq. She has traveled back home more than 20 times and has, most recently, helped refugees displaced by ISIS.

Garmo also has visited Honduras and Jordan and is currently serving as the Ambassador of Health for Iraq and Jordan for World Medical Relief.

Auday Arabo – Humanitarian Award
The COO of Farmington Hills-based Associated Food & Petroleum Dealers Inc., Arabo is a native of Baghdad. He moved to San Diego in 1979 and, at an early age, began working in grocery stores, where he learned the retail business. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1996 and was the first member of his family to graduate high school in America. He attended junior college; San Diego State University, where he graduated magna cum laude; and California Western School of Law.

In between receiving his degrees, Arabo worked as a legislative correspondent for a California congressman and later in the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. After leaving, he ran for the California State Assembly in 2008. A resident of West Bloomfield, Arabo is the former president of the Neighborhood Market Association and is involved in numerous trade and community organizations. He is a staunch advocate for those affected by the crisis in Iraq.

The Shinola Company – Community Leadership Award
Shinola was founded in 2011 in Detroit as a startup aimed at sourcing and assembling as many domestic components as possible in series of limited edition watches.  Since debuting its first timepiece in 2013, Shinola has grown into a major luxury lifestyle brand that also specializes in bicycles, and leather goods.

The company, whose headquarters and watch factory are housed within the College for Creative Studies, has the capacity to produce hundreds of thousands of watches per year.  Products are available online and in Detroit, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, as well as in London.

The ACC serves nearly 70,000 clients in metropolitan Detroit.  The organization’s programs include Pantry of Plenty – the twice-monthly food distribution event at its Detroit office, public health, WIC, behavioral health, employment and training, social services and youth and, recreational programs. Additionally, the ACC also operates more than 35 outreach offices throughout Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties, staffed with bilingual and trilingual staffs.
A general reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the program and dinner at 7 p.m. Dinner will follow the presentations and live entertainment will be provided throughout the evening. To purchase tickets, call 248-559-1990.