For more 40 years, the Presidential Citizens Medal has recognized Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” The President is inviting you, the American public, to nominate everyday heroes for one of our nation’s highest civilian honors.
Who is your hero? Who has gone above and beyond, performing extraordinary deeds of service? Help recognize the exemplary citizen from your community — and bring them the public attention they deserve by nominating them for this year’s medal.
Here are a few inspiring examples of heroes honored last year:
Steve and Liz Alderman: Health/Victims of 9/11
After Liz and Steve Alderman lost their son, Peter, in the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, they founded the Peter C. Alderman Foundation. The Foundation works to heal the emotional wounds of victims of terrorism and mass violence by establishing clinics in post-conflict countries including Cambodia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Haiti. The Aldermans receive the Citizens Medal for aiding the victims of conflict who might otherwise go unaided.
Clarence Lee Alexander: Environment/Health/Native American Issues
Sometimes called the “grandfather of tribal government” in Alaska for his long-held role as Chief of Fort Yukon, Clarence Alexander has worked extensively to clean up the Yukon River, resulting in the closure of numerous open-burning dumps and the removal or recycling of millions pounds of waste. Alexander receives the Citizens Medal for demonstrating how much good a dedicated leader can accomplish.
Ida Martin: Homelessness/Poverty
Ida Martin created Bluffton Self Help to assist working families, disabled residents, and senior citizens in the Bluffton, South Carolina area when they suffered a financial crisis. In 2010 alone, Bluffton Self Help provided food to 11,600 people and clothing to almost 9,000 people. Additionally, Bluffton Self Help provided families with short-term emergency financial assistance toward housing and utility assistance, medical assistance, or children’s program assistance. Martin receives the Citizens Medal for providing relief to many in moments of despair.
Roger Kemp: Women’s Issues
Roger Kemp faced the ultimate parent’s nightmare when his daughter Ali, 19, was killed in the summer of 2002. In response Kemp created The Ali Kemp Defense Education (TAKE) Foundation. Inspired by his belief that his daughter could have survived if she had an edge on her attackers, TAKE has trained more than 46,000 women in self-defense. Kemp receives the Citizens Medal for working to empower young women to prevent themselves from becoming victims.
John Keaveney: Military/Veterans
In 1992, John Keaveney, a Vietnam combat veteran, founded New Directions, a home for homeless and disabled veterans with addiction and mental health problems. Keaveney overcame personal struggles and turned his life around in the 1980s. He decided that no veteran who asked for help should suffer what he did. When he began his program, he made a promise that no veteran would leave it unless he had a suit, a place to stay, and an income. Keaveney receives the Citizens Medal for ensuring that America keeps its promises to veterans.
Margaret Martin: Urban Youth/Education
After observing LA gang members stop at a Hollywood market to listen to a kid playing Brahms on a small violin, she founded the Harmony Project in 2001 to make quality arts education available to those in the most underserved, gang-reduction zones of Los Angeles. The organization has provided instruments and tuition-free music lessons to thousands of children in Los Angeles who would otherwise have no access to classical music. Martin receives the Citizens Medal for replacing violence in children’s lives with music.
Nominees must be citizens of the United States, as required by the 1969 Executive Order. If you want to nominate someone for the 2012 Citizens Medal, please review the full criteria for this year’s Medal. The deadline to submit is TODAY, Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST.