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Obama Presents Presidential Citizens Awards

President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Citizens Award, the second highest civilian award in the US, to thirteen people yesterday. According to the Times-Standard, Obama asked the American people to nominate the recipients for the first time since the award’s inception in 1969, resulting in over 6000 nominations. Eleven of the thirteen recipients were women, which caused Obama to joke that it “tells you something about who really gets stuff done in the neighborhoods”, reports the Chicago Tribune. Previous recipients include Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, and Colin Powell. One recipient is Lisa Nigro, a former police officer who founded Inspiration Corp. The organization assists the homeless with services, such as Inspiration Café, which serves meals, holds support groups and provides case management services. Another recipient is Daisy Brooks, who founded Daisy’s Resources and Developmental Center in North Chicago. Begun after a pregnant teenager sought her help, Brooks’ center now serves as a dormitory, school and support network for struggling young women. Brooks described winning as “exciting and a blessing…I didn’t think I deserved this type of award,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Susan Retik Ger, a 9/11 widow who founded “Beyond the 11th”, a group that raises money for Afghan widows and their families, was also among the recipients. Retik, who was pregnant with her third child when her husband died on one of the planes used to attack the US, was in awe of the incredible support she received afterward. The Associated Press reported Retiz said, “I just thought to myself, ‘Who’s helping them over there?’ So many people here were helping us.” Other exceptional service activities honored include a breast cancer support network, the improvement of science and technology education for Los Angeles students, and care for wounded soldiers overseas. “For these men and women, serving others isn’t just the right thing to do,” Obama said, “it’s the obvious thing to do.”

Sources:

Times Standard 8/5/10; Chicago Tribune 8/4/10; White House; Chicago Sun Times 8/5/10; Associated Press 8/5/10