United Auto Insurance Group CEO and Founder Receives 2008 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

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Richard Parrillo Sr. recognized for philanthropy, professional achievement and preserving heritage.

Richard Parrillo Sr., founder and CEO of United Auto Insurance Group (UAIG), is a recipient of the 2008 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The award, given annually to individuals throughout the United States, seeks to honor the diversity of America's history, advocates for positive change in the present, and to build strong leaders for the future. The event is sponsored by the National Ethnic Coalition Organization (NECO) and is awarded to political figures, Nobel Prize winners, athletes, leaders of industry, artists and others whose work has positively impacted others. Notable past recipients include Gen. Colin Powell, Muhammad Ali, Diane Sawyer, Lee Iacoca, Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Sr., Supreme Court Justice Steven Briar and Chief Justice William Reinquist.

"My family has always taken pride in our Italian heritage," said Parrillo, who brought his entire family to the event. "To think that my mother came through Ellis Island in 1902. She truly exemplified and taught us the virtues of honesty, working hard, and giving back to the community. We are so proud that her legacy, as well as the contributions of millions of other immigrants, lives on through the wonderful work of the NECO."

The medals were awarded to the 106 recipients at a patriotic ceremony full of tradition on Ellis Island, followed by a black-tie reception held in Ellis Island's Great Hall. The event included music by all four service arms of the U.S. Military, as well as a spectacular fireworks display in front of the Statue of Liberty and ferry ride across New York Harbor.

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is recognized by the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, and as such the names of all winners are listed in the Congressional Record. This year's recipients include actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise; Louisiana Governor, Bobby "Piyush" Jindal; Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, US Air Force Vice Chief of Staff; WWII Veteran, Olympian & motivational Speaker Louis Zamperini and human rights activist and genocide survivor advocate Jacqueline Murekatete.

"I was completely overwhelmed with emotion and patriotism," said Parillo. "This honor is very special to me and my family."

Richard P. Parrillo, Sr. was born in Oak Park, Illinois. He attended Oliver Wendel Holmes Grammar School and Oak Park High School. In 1960, he graduated from the University of Colorado, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree. Prior to his entry into the insurance market, Richard Parrillo became the youngest national bank president in the United States at the age of 25.

From 1963 to 1982, Mr. Parrillo was active in both the insurance and banking industries, but eventually decided to devote all of his efforts to his insurance business. In 1995, he moved to Florida, and as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the United Automobile Insurance Group ("UAIG"), he instituted a plan to establish the company as one of the premier automobile insurance providers in the United States.

Richard Parrillo and his 800 employees support many charitable organizations. They are staunch supporters of children's causes including Do The Right Thing, a project of the Miami Police Department which recognizes children who have performed good works; Florida's Children First; The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County; St Jude's Medical Center; and Miami Children's' Hospital. Additionally, UAIG sponsors many civic events, including Miami Gardens' Jazz in the Garden and Miss Miami Gardens, as well as Presidents' Fest in the Park. Finally, the company is committed to health and wellness issues, sponsoring such events as Open the Door to Breast Health Initiative, Heartsight Miami and Hope for Vision.

United Automobile Insurance Group (UAIG) is a property and casualty insurance organization specializing in automobile insurance. The company is committed to providing its agents, and their customers, a quality product with state-of-the-art processing and claims service. Through its affiliates, UAIG provides a variety of insurance-related services including premium finance, claims processing and advanced on-line sales products. UAIG supports a host of organizations such as The Mike Lowell Foundation, Miami Children's Hospital, Children's Home Society, Heartsight Miami, The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County, St. Judes Hospital, Do The Right Thing, Florida's Children First, President's Fest in the Park, Aspira and Switchboard Miami. Additionally, UAIG supports law enforcement programs, training and funded the Fallen Officer Memorial in Tropical Park.

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Carolyn Popescu

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