The 13 to be welcomed Oct. 20 were chosen from nearly 6,000 public nominations.
"This year's recipients of the Citizens Medal come from different backgrounds, but they share a commitment to a cause greater than themselves," Obama said in a statement. "They exemplify the best of what it means to be an American, and I am honored to be able to offer them a small token of our appreciation."
The Citizens Medal, created in 1969, recognizes U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens, the White House said. The president called on members of the public in May to nominate people in their lives who have performed exemplary deeds of service outside of their regular jobs.
The recipients include Steve and Liz Alderman of Armonk, N.Y., who lost their son in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. They established the Peter C. Alderman Foundation, which works to heal the emotional wounds felt by victims of terror and mass violence by training healthcare professionals and establishing clinics in post-conflict countries including Cambodia, Uganda, Rwanda and Haiti.
The White House said foundation clinics treat thousands in need and contribute to shaping a positive image of America in the world.