Photo: Roberto Perez, Medal Winner Meets President Obama
President Obama recognized the 13 recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. The award is given to Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” At a ceremony in the East Room, the President praised the honorees’ commitment to service:
“The 13 Americans that we honor today have all faced that … moment when you see a neighbor in need and you have to ask yourself the question. They come from different backgrounds and they’ve devoted their lives to different causes, but they are united by the choice that they’ve made. They could have made excuses for doing nothing. Instead, they chose to help.”
This year’s winners truly included Americans from all walks of life and this year includes Roberto Perez of Miami, Florida. As President of Alfalit, a non-profit organization combating illiteracy, Roberto Perez has led the charge for fighting illiteracy from Africa to South America. The organization has helped 7 million people learn to read in 22 countries. Perez previously worked as a social worker and as an ordained Methodist Pastor counseling prison inmates and recovering alcoholics. Perez receives the Citizens Medal for his passion and work on behalf of the less fortunate around the globe.
The 13 people chosen to receive this year’s medal were nominated by the public, and then carefully selected by the White House. Click here to see entire list of winners.