Six Newtown educators honored posthumously

Feb. 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The educators who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., will be awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the White House said.

Principal Dawn Hochsprung, psychologist Mary Sherlach and teachers Rachel Davino, Lauren Rousseau, Anne Marie Murphy and Victoria Soto will be honored Feb. 15 during a ceremony, the White House said Friday in a release.

"On Dec. 14, 2012, the names of six courageous women were forever etched into the heart of our nation as unthinkable tragedy swept through Newtown, Conn.," the White House said. "All had dedicated themselves to their students and their community, working long past the school bell to give the children in their care a future worthy of their talents."

The Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation's second-highest civilian honor, recognizes people for their commitment to public service.

Of the nearly 6,000 nominations were submitted, Obama selected the following:

-- Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Boston: One of the foremost authorities on pediatrics and child development as well as an author and professor.

-- Adam Burke, Jacksonville, Fla.: An Iraq combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Burke opened "Veterans Farm," a 19-acre, handicap-accessible farm that helps teach veterans how to make a living.

-- Mary Jo Copeland, Minneapolis: Copeland founded Sharing and Caring Hands in 1985, which has served as a safety net to those in need in the Minneapolis area by providing food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical and dental assistance and is staff almost entirely by volunteers.

-- Michael Dorman, Fuquay-Varina, N.C.: Dorman is the founder and executive director of Military Missions in Action, a non-profit that helps veterans with disabilities, both physical and mental, achieve independent living.

-- Maria Gomez, Washington: Gomez founded Mary's Center 25 years ago with the mission to build better futures through the delivery of health care, family literacy and job training.

-- Pamela Green Jackson, Albany, Ga.: Green Jackson is founder and chief executive officer of the Youth Becoming Healthy Project, a non-profit organization committed to reducing the epidemic of childhood obesity through nutrition, fitness education and physical activity programs.

-- Janice Jackson, Baltimore: Jackson is the creator and program director of Women Embracing Abilities Now, a non-profit mentoring organization servicing women and young ladies with varying degrees of disabilities.

-- Patience Lehrman, Philadelphia: Lehrman, an immigrant from Cameroon, is the national director of Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders), an immigrant integration initiative at the Intergenerational Center of Temple University.

-- Jeanne Manford, New York: Manford and her husband co-founded a support group for parents of gay children that grew into the national organization known as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

-- Billy Mills, Fair Oaks, Calif.: Mills co-founded and is the spokesman for Running Strong for American Indian Youth, an organization that supports cultural programs and provides health and housing assistance for American Indian communities.

-- Terry Shima, Gaithersburg, Md.: Shima was executive director of the Japanese American Veterans Association, a non-profit organization that publicizes and assists Japanese American military veterans and their families, from 2004 to 2012, and is heads its outreach and education committee.

-- Harris Wofford, Washington: Wofford, who served as U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, former CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and former president of Bryn Mawr College, is an advocate of national service and volunteering.

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