LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer is getting national recognition for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced Tuesday that Whitmer is one of seven recipients of the Profile in Courage Award.
The awards will be presented to the winners by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her son Jack Schlossberg in a virtual ceremony on May 16 at 7 p.m.
It is a virtual event that will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show.
“Today’s honorees put their own lives at risk to keep others safe. They inspire us all with their courage and give new meaning to President Kennedy’s legacy of public service,” said Caroline Kennedy, honorary president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Thousands of people submitted COVID Courage nominations, and the seven honorees chosen will represent courage and national sacrifice witnessed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is my honor to accept this prestigious award on behalf of every Michigander who stepped up to help their family and community through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am humbled by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Kennedy Family for their recognition. We must all strive to live up to the call of public service put forward by President Kennedy decades ago and exemplified by the heroes on the frontlines of this pandemic who are putting shots in arms and working tirelessly in schools, stores, and hospitals statewide.”
The other honorees include:
Dr. Amy Acton, Former Director, State Health Department, Ohio
“Dr. Amy Acton, the first woman physician appointed to Ohio’s top public health position, boldly proposed an aggressive shelter-in-place order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Her leadership put Ohio ahead of most other states in responding to the virus, but she became the target of protestors and legislators, who sought to limit her power and even engaged in personal attacks against her.”
Burnell Cotlon, Owner, Burnell’s Market, Louisiana
“When the pandemic put many in his community out of work, Cotlon began allowing customers to take groceries on credit. Within a month, he’d opened tabs for more than 60 customers who could no longer afford to buy food. Cotlon, an Army veteran who lived in a FEMA trailer for three years after Hurricane Katrina, missed mortgage payments on his own house as his store quickly lost revenue, but he continued to offer lines of credit and even gave away food to customers.”
Fred Freeman, Fire Department Captain, Massachusetts
“Freeman led the establishment of an innovative mobile health program allowing the town of Hanover to deliver COVID-19 testing and other critical health services directly to residents in their homes.”
Antonio Greene, Amazon Associate and former Delivery Associate, South Carolina
“Last summer while working as a Delivery Associate for an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP) in Charleston, SC, Greene noticed a sign on the door of a customer’s home which alerted visitors that the occupant was undergoing chemotherapy and was immunocompromised. Shortly after leaving the package at the customer’s doorstep, Greene returned with flowers and a message of support addressed to the man. A week later, Greene stopped by again just to check in, forging an unexpected bond between the two men.”
Lauren Leander, Intensive Care Nurse, Arizona
“Leander, an ICU nurse who cares for critically ill COVID-19 patients, stood with three of her colleagues in support of stay-at-home orders that were critical to slowing the spread of the virus during the early days of the pandemic.”
Darrell R. Marks, Native American Academic Advisor, Arizona
“Marks, a single parent raising two teenage sons, has coordinated deliveries of food and supplies to Navajo and Hopi families struggling during the pandemic; advocated for voting rights in the face of efforts to disenfranchise Native Americans; worked to provide access to remote learning opportunities in tribal areas made even more isolated by COVID-19; and served as a personal counselor and resource to students struggling with loss and depression.”