2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards


From Left: Dilip Mehta, Sam Kannappan, Vivek Sharda

HOUSTON: Hindus of Greater Houston will recognize two outstanding community leaders Dilipkumar Mehta and Sam Kannappan with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their contribution to Hindu Community and Vivek Sharda for his exceptional volunteer work, with Akhil Chopra award.

HGH will presents the awards at its 27th annual Janmashtami festival at George R. Brown Convention Center on Sept. 10, from 6 p.m. to midnight

Dilipkumar Mehta even as early as a little kid had a strong affinity for Sanatan Dharma. When he arrived in the USA he started the Kansas University Hindu club.

Later he moved to Boston and that is where he had to opportunity to meet with Swami Chinmayananda in 1968.

A few years later Swami Chinmayananda visited Boston again and stayed there for a few months in 1973. At that time Dilip Mehta’s home became a meeting place for Swamiji with his followers.

In 1971, Viswa Hindu Parishad of America had had its first meeting in New York City. Dilip Mehta joined VHPA and ever since he has been part of VHPA.

In 1982 he moved to Houston and cofounded VHPA Chapter.  In 1985 he helped start a camp for children. Dilip Mehta is also the founding member of HGH.

Kusum and Dilip Mehta have two daughters and two grandsons. He feels young even at the age of 77 and he still mows his lawn and teaches Physics at Houston Community College. He quotes, “Only thing that keeps me going and keeps me active is my love for Sanatan Hindu Dharma which I will never give up as long as I have breath in my body.”

Sockalingam Sam Kannappan has been in Houston for over 40 years. He spearheaded a monumental work in building Sri Meenakshi Temple, in Pearland, Texas. He is one of the founders of Bharathi Kalai Manram, a Tamil cultural organization in Houston .Kannappan is a Charter Member of the Society of Piping Engineers & Designers. Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed  Kannappan to the Texas Professional Engineers Board from 2012 to 2017 where he serves as Enforcement Committee Chairman.

Among his many contributions for charitable causes are fundraising for eye donation drive for Sankara Nethralaya, He is also the founding member of HGH. Sam Kannappan and Meenakshi Kannappan have 3 sons and one daughter. They have one grandson. At age 72 he is active with many organizations. He quotes “ Sanathan Dharma (Hindusim) is world’s oldest religion. It imparts righteous way of living that even a common man can follow. Bhakthi and Surrender are the easiest path to reach God.”

Akhil Chopra award
Vivek Sharda is a dynamic young man who is a great inspiration to many. Hindus of Greater Houston presents the award to ‘unsung heroes’ who have carried out outstanding service to the Houston Hindu community without seeking recognition.

This year, Hindus of Greater Houston will bestow this prestigious Akhil Chopra Award to the outstanding volunteer Vivek Sharda. His present role is as Volunteer Engagement Coordinator for Sewa organization, where he connects youth for Sewa activities.  He is actively involved with Hindu Yuva Chapter at the University, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and Hindus of Greater Houston. His efforts were to remove obstacles for new Indian students coming to University of Houston and work with Graduate Indian Student Organization (GISO). He volunteered as yoga Instructor for kids at Sanskaar class and as coordinator for other Maheshwari Mahasabha of North America (MMNA) activities.  He also worked as disaster relief volunteer during Houston flood for the Red Cross.