Elisa Vilano Chovel

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Elisa Vilano Chovel "was born in Guanabacoa. In Cuba, she went to school at Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús. In June 1962, Elly left Cuba as part of Operation Peter Pan, a program sponsored by the US Catholic church which brought 14,000 unaccompanied minors to the United States. She was relocated to Buffalo, New York where she went to Bishop Newman High School and later Rosary Hill College.

"Ms. Chovel married Captain Thomas Flanigan who not too long thereafter died in the Vietnam War. She became a widow at age 21. She later remarried, is presently divorced, has three children, and four grandchildren. She has been a realtor for 21 years and is currently at Esslinger, Wooten and Maxwell in South Miami.

"She is the founder and president of Operation Pedro Pan Group. She served on the board of directors of Catholic Charities and is now a trustee. She has done volunteer work or served on the boards of the Miami Ballet Society, Miami City Ballet, Community Relations Board, Creced, Catholic Home for Children, and Boys Town of Florida. She received the JC Penney Golden Rule Award (1995) and was named Woman of Impact (2000) by the Coalition for Women's History of the Historical Society of Southern Florida.

"In 1998, Ms. Chovel returned to Cuba for His Holiness Pope John Paul II's visit. She is frequently quoted or interviewed by the media and academics on her work with Operation Pedro Pan Group." [1]

In 2003 he was a board member of the Memory, Truth and Justice: Comparative Perspectives on National Reconciliation.