President Joe Biden has recognized Indian-American and a longtime Houstonian, Krishna Vavilala, with the Presidential Lifetime Achievement (PLA) Award, the nation’s highest honor for his contributions to his community and the country at large. The Presidential Lifetime Achievement (PLA) Awards, led by AmeriCorps, is an annual event held to honor citizens, who exhibit outstanding character, worth ethic, and dedication to their communities.
AmeriCorps, an agency of the United States government, engages more than five million Americans in service through a variety of volunteer work programs in many sectors.
86-year-old Vavilala, a Houstonian for the past four decades, was lauded for his lifetime service and achievements by calling him a “Change Maker and Global Humanitarian” at a glittering ceremony last week.
AmeriCorps certifier Dr. Sonia R. White presented the official Presidential Award to Vavilala which contained a framed proclamation from the White House, signed by President Biden, and the medallion.
Vavilala attended the red-carpet event along with his wife, Prabhat Lakshmi, two daughters, Monica and Amanda, and four grandchildren.
In the Citation of the Congressional Certificate of Recognition, 18th District Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who was the keynote speaker, said “Your dedication to serving your nation deserves the respect, admiration, and Commendation of the United States Congress.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated in his congratulatory message that the award identifies selfless individuals who work behind the scenes without seeking the limelight for their efforts.
“For this, your kindness and generosity are deserving of this award. The City of Houston is pleased to honor you and thank you for your dedication to the betterment of this world,” it said.
Originally from Andhra Pradesh, Vavilala is a retired Electrical Engineer, and currently, the founder and Chairman of the Foundation for India Studies (FIS), a 16-year-old non-profit organization, whose signature project “the Indo-American Oral History Project” won the 2019 Mary Fay Barnes Award for Excellence.
“I am deeply touched by this unexpected honor, which is truly a recognition of the contributions of the Indians in Houston, ” Vavilala told PTI.
In 2006, Vavilala established the India Studies program at the University of Houston, He was also responsible for initiating the India Studies program at Texas Southern University, early this year.