NEW YORK (TIP): Peter Bheddah was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year award at the 2014 INNkeepers’ Ball on May 8th. Peter has been a friend and supporter of The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network) for over 15 years, and has also been instrumental in leading the India Association of Long Island’s support of The INN.
According to Jean Kelly, Executive Director of The INN, “Peter is an outstanding source of inspiration to us and the Indian community and because of his exceptional thoughtfulness and generosity we are honored to acknowledge him.” Peter who hails from Kutch district of Gujarat, came to the United States in 1960 for further studies in Economics and International Relations.
He met his would be significant half Dorothy at Columbia University. The two fell in love, leading to their marriage in 1964. Bheddahs have two daughters Karen Bheddah O’Rourke and Sheila Bheddah. Karen has two children – Grace and Liam. Peter ran a very successful Wholesale Electronics business from 1972 to 2001 and came to have enough to bank on for a relaxed retired life. Given to social involvement and philanthropy, Peter got associated with Nargis Dutt Memorial Foundation and was its President in 1992 – 1994.
He is a member of the Board of Directors since 1987. Not to forget his roots in Gujarat and his bond with Gujaratis, he has been active in Gujarati Samaj of New York, of which he was President in 2001 -2002. He is a Trustee of Samaj since 2011. Peter is also Advisory Board Member of Heart & Hand for the Handicapped from 2003 to Present. He was President of Long Island Chapter of Indian National Overseas Congress from 2008 – 2012.
(Left to right): Rob Kammerer (co-chair), Peter Bheddah, Fran Gutleber, Amy Hughes, John Hughes, Jean Kelly (INN Executive Director), Harry DiSimone (INN Board President). Steve Richman (co-chair)
He is a Founding member and a Grand Sponsor of the DIWALI FOOD DRIVE from 1995 to 2013. Under the umbrella of India Association of Long Island (IALI) Food Drive has provided INTERFAITH NUTRITION NETWORK (INN) with more than 400,000 meals, truck loads of foods and $400,000 of medicines to Rota Care. During 2001 earthquake in Kutch, Gujarat, India, Peter supported projects worth $1,000,000 (One million dollars) building a Hospital, two Schools, and 500 Houses. Peter has been recognized for his work and contribution by many organizations.
He is a recipient of numerous awards including “ELLIS ISLAND MEDAL OF HONOR” in 2012. A lifelong Democrat, he was keynote speaker for Hilary Clinton during her senatorial campaign in 2001. He and Dorothy were invited twice to White House – in 1993 and 1995. Peter has always believed and practices that good fortune should be shared with the needy and the less fortunate in this country as well as in India. Also honored at the Ball on Thursday, May 8th at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, were Amy and John Hughes.
The Honorary Chair is Fran Gutleber. The INN is a volunteer based charitable organization that operates soup kitchens in 22 Long Island communities, provides shelter for 150 children and adults each night in clean and safe housing and offers a full range of supportive services. Since its founding, INN volunteers have served over ten million hot, nutritious meals