Last year, Congress awarded a Congressional Gold Medal to Don Stephens, Founder of Mercy Ships.
The congressional bill, H.R.6221, was “to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Don Stephens, President and Founder of Mercy Ships, in recognition of his 38 years of service as the leader of a humanitarian relief organization that exemplifies the compassionate character of America.”
Has delivered medical care in 55 developing nations, providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion and treating more than 2.5 million people.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who introduced the bill, said,
“Over 38 years ago, Don Stephens had a vision to take healthcare to places in the world filled with poverty and suffering. Having spent time on a Mercy Ship in West Africa, I can verify the incredible blessings this group brings: the lame walk, the thousands blind from massive cataracts ultimately see, people with massive tumors get a new lease on life and children with no hope of a normal life get that chance. Mercy Ships has become a beacon of light in some of the darkest parts of the world, and it represents the very best of America – compassion, service and love for our neighbors.”
So what is a Congressional Gold Medal? It’s an award bestowed by the United States Congress. The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian awards in the United States. They are awarded to persons who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement. The medal is awarded whenever Congress deems it appropitate. And American citizenship is not a requirement.
Previous awardees include individuals such as “George Washington, Thomas Edison, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King and Bob Hope.” A complete list of recipients is available at the House of Representatives.
Although it may not be surprising, but there is also a Congressional Silver Medal as well as a Congressional Bronze Medal.
So now you are aware of the Congressional Gold Medal. Is there one in your future? Good luck.
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