They've been called heroes and angels. And now, the six Sandy Hook School educators killed in the shooting on Dec. 14 will become recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal.
The medal is generally recognized as the second highest civilian award of our government, the White House says. The women who will be honored posthumously are:
- Dawn Hochsprung
- Rachel Davino
- Anne Marie Murphy
- Lauren Rousseau
- Mary Sherlach
- Victoria Soto
In announcing the news, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement:
"I look forward to joining the families of the courageous educators killed in the Newtown shooting next Friday, Feb. 15, at a White House ceremony where the President will posthumously honor them with the Presidential Citizens Medal. These extraordinary educators, who sacrificed their lives to protect students in their care, gave a profound new dimension to the meaning of public service. All of America has been awed by the story of their strength, bravery and caring reflected in this honor."
The six educators died protecting their students on the morning of Dec. 14, when a lone gunman shot his way into the elementary school and left 20 first-graders dead before taking his own life.
Full Criteria for Nomination
According to the White House, the 2012 Citizens Medal will recognize “citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”
The following text comes directly from the White House website:
The 2012 Citizens Medal will recognize U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service outside of their regular jobs, including individuals:
Who have a demonstrated commitment to service in their own community or in communities farther from home.
Someone who has engaged in activities that have had an impact in their local community, on a community or communities elsewhere in the United States or on fellow citizens living or stationed around the world.
Who have helped their country or their fellow citizens through one or more extraordinary acts.
Individuals who have demonstrated notable skill and grace, selflessly placed themselves in harm’s way, taken unusual risks or steps to protect others, made extraordinary efforts to further a national goal, or otherwise conducted themselves admirably when faced with unusually challenging circumstances.
Whose service relates to a long-term or persistent problem.
Individuals who have made efforts to combat stubbornly persistent problems that impact entire communities, for example those who have taken innovative steps to address hunger, homelessness, the dropout crisis, lack of access to health care, and other issues that plague too many Americans.
Whose service has had a sustained impact on others’ lives and provided inspiration for others to serve.
The ideal nominee for a Citizens Medal is a person whose work has had a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of others.
To see a list of the 2011 winners and video of that ceremony, visit the White House website.
Editor's note: This article originally was published by Newtown Patch.