State Rep. Rosa C. Rebimbas (R-70) and Fernando G. Rosa, Director of the Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States (PALCUS) honored Fernando Cordeiro, Fernando Rodrigues and Jose (Joe) Gouveia during the annual Day of Portugal ceremony at the State Capitol on Friday, June 9, 2017.
A celebration of Portuguese culture, the annual event features, food, traditional dancers and fellowship. This year also included Margarida Marques, Portugal Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ambassador Domingos Fezas Vital, Portugal Ambassador to the United States, Manuela Bairos, Consul General of Portugal in New York and the Tuna Academica da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal) choir, founded in 1888.
The Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States was founded in 1991 as a non-partisan, non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. with a mission of addressing domestic and international concerns of the Portuguese-American community. PALCUS has conducted an expanding program of research, educational and public affairs activities on salient issues of interest to the Portuguese-American community and the Luso-American relationship. PALCUS is committed to serving the community through increasingly active government relations efforts, the promotion of a greater awareness of ethnic accomplishments and encouraging stronger ties between Portugal and the United States.
About the Honorees:
Fernando Cordeiro immigrated to the US in 1974, and with his wife Lucia has been a dedicated community contributor for many years.
His love for traditional folklore music and dance is the driving force for his devotion to the Hartford Portuguese Club’s Rancho Folclorico dance company. Beginning as a Rancho performer, Cordeiro eventually rose through the ranks to become the Group’s President; a distinction he has held for over 20 years. The Rancho Folclorico has enjoyed more than 40 years of continuous existence.
Fernando Rodrigues was born and raised in the village of Monsanto in Southern Portugal, then immigrated to Brazil, and later Hartford, in 1969.
He has been deeply involved in the community, serving as director of the Portuguese Club of Hartford, and has been the club’s permit holder for more than 20 years. His immense dedication to the organization has seen him give many hours as a volunteer in many different chores, including cook and bartender.
He has a great love for Sport Lisboa and Benfica, Portugal’s top soccer club, and helped found Casa do Benfica (Benfica’s House) in New Britain. He has the distinction of being Member No. 1.
Retired for several years from Hanson and Whitney he continues to volunteer for his favorite organizations.
Jose (Joe) Gouveia was born and raised in a tiny village in Portugal. Alone at age twelve, he moved to Lisbon, Portugal to seek more opportunity, and at age fourteen, he and his family moved to New Haven, Connecticut.
After moving to Wallingford, he became immersed in the community and held a variety of jobs and titles over the years. He was nominated for Outstanding Young Men of America and in 2007 was voted Connecticut Immigrant of the year.
One of his most recognized achievements is the beautiful Gouveia Vineyards that broke ground almost seventeen years ago. In the harvest seasons and daily winemaking practices, Joe still holds true to his Portuguese heritage and traditions.
Most recently, Joe and his family renovated the vacant historic building that housed Wallingford’s first library and transformed it into a beautifully restored restaurant serving many Portuguese dishes.
The State Capitol reception was initiated in 2009 and since then the following individuals and groups have been recognized:
- 2016 – Reinaldo Amaral, President, Economic Council of Our Lady of Fatima, Hartford
Jorge Sousa, President of the Danbury Portuguese Cultural Center, Danbury
David Coelho, Leader, Day of Portugal, Danbury
Abilio (Bill) Lopes Gouveia, Honorary Consul of Portugal, Danbury
- 2015 – Helder Mira, filmmaker
Miguel Campinho, organist and choir director, Our Lady of Fatima, Hartford
Ray Boa and Joe Boa, A&J Construction, Brookfield
- 2014 – The Honorable Maria Araujo Kahn, State Superior Court Judge
Portuguese Bar Association of Connecticut, Inc.
- 2013 – Our Lady of Fatima Portuguese School
Sport Club Jose Saramago School
Vasco de Gama Center School
Manuel Cipriano School at Immaculate Conception Church
- 2012 – The Portuguese Media –
Radio Program Amplitude
Radio Program Cultura e Vida
TV Portugal Raizes
Radio Station WFAR
Jornal Luso Americano
- 2010 – Band Sons of Portugal (Danbury)
- 2009 – Dr. Adriano Seabra Veiga, MD
Attorney Americo Ventura
Professor Dr. Antonio A.Cirurgiao