On August 4, President Obama awarded Kimberly McGuiness, a Georgia School for the Deaf (GSD) parent, and 12 others with the 2010 Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor.
“What unites these citizens – what makes them special – is the determination they share to find a wrong and right it; to see a need and meet it; to recognize when others are suffering and take it upon themselves to make a difference,” said President Obama. “These honorees’ lives stand as shining examples of what it means to be an American. And today, we have an opportunity to tell their stories; to say thank you; and to offer them a small token of our appreciation.”
The Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. This year, President Obama chose to use the 2010 Citizens Medal to recognize Americans whose work has had a significant impact on their communities but may not have garnered national attention. In a video message in January, the President called on members of the public to nominate people in their lives who have performed exemplary deeds of service, including:
• individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to service in their own community,
• who have helped their country or their fellow citizens through one or more extraordinary acts,
• whose service relates to a long-term or persistent problem, and/or
• whose service has had a sustained impact on others’ lives and provided inspiration for others to serve.
GSD director Lee Shiver was eager to nominate Ms. McGuiness.
"Kimberly McGuiness has been a true champion for deaf students," said Shiver. "Her persistent letters, phone calls, and visits to state legislators helped spur the passage of the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights in Georgia."
McGuiness has led workshops, counseled parents, and changed lives by raising awareness and support for deaf education. McGuiness received the Citizens Medal for demonstrating the results one citizen can achieve for an entire community.
"I am grateful for Kimberly's advocacy for deaf students," said Superintendent Brad Bryant. "Her involvement and influence have helped make GSD a school of choice for deaf and hard of hearing students."
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