I was a little reluctant to post this information here, but some friends encouraged me to do so. Last Monday, April 4, I was honored at an awards ceremony for the Jefferson Awards. These awards were begun in 1973 in the United States by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard.
The Jefferson Awards annually celebrate America’s commitment to public service. Recognizing both the famous and the unknown, individuals and organizations, the young and old, the awards reflect one of the founding ideals of our nation, that of contributing toward the larger good.
In our local area, the focus is on ordinary, non-famous people doing extraordinary things. My sister Kimberly nominated me for work I have done to raise awareness and tolerance of stuttering. She submitted an essay about my visiting schools to talk about bullying prevention, advocating in the media by having articles published and appearances on radio and television, and the podcast I started last year giving women who stutter a space to share their stories.
Of hundreds of nominations, 18 of us were chosen as finalists. I was then notified that I was chosen as one of 7 Jefferson Award Medalists. One of the Medalists was chosen to attend a ceremony in Washington DC in June to represent the Capital Region of NY. That person is a man whose son committed suicide at the age of 18, and his efforts since to raise awareness to schools, teens and parents. I was honored and touched to be part of this elite group of 7. The others were working to improve and raise money for important social causes.
I was chosen as part of that field for bringing a local voice and face to stuttering, and for giving women all over the world an opportunity to share their stories. Thank you to all of the women who have so beautifully and courageously shared your stories. Together, we have showed the world that we do have stories that need to be heard.
Thank you also to my sister for having the courage to nominate me for recognition for something that was always a taboo topic in our family. And thank you to my friends and family who attended the ceremony and cheered me on and made me feel so special.
Thank you to Claudia for immediately forwarding the details to the National Stuttering Association. They have posted this information on their page as well, which made me proud.
And thanks to my friends and listeners who encouraged me to post this here on my main page. They reminded me doing so is not bragging, rather it is inspiring. And the best way for regular readers/listeners to know that this special honor even occurred.