Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the wonderfully sunny, breezy island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this 12th day of July, 2012, another beauty on Cape and in the Spirit of the upcoming Olympic Summer games in London, a place I called home during this reporter’s high school and freshman year of college, I wished to bring to Light once again a lady who championed much more than even the most decorated of athletes, politicians, business leaders ever did or could have hoped to have achieved–Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009). As founder and honorary chairperson of Special Olympics and executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a leader in the worldwide struggle to improve and enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities for more than five decades. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the fifth of nine children of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Eunice Mary Kennedy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Following graduation, she worked for the U.S. State Department in the special war problems division. In 1950, she became a social worker at the Penitentiary for Women in Alderson, West Virginia, and the following year she moved to Chicago to work with the House for the Good Shepherd and the Chicago Juvenile Court. In 1957, Shriver took over direction of the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation. The Foundation, established in 1946 as a memorial to Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.–the family’s eldest son, who was killed in World War II–has two major objectives: to seek the prevention of intellectual disabilities by identifying its causes, and to improve the means by which society deals with citizens who have intellectual disabilities. Under Shriver’s leadership, the Foundation has helped achieve many significant advances, including the establishment by President Kennedy of the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation in 1961, development of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development in 1962, the establishment of a network of university-affiliated facilities and mental retardation research centers at major medical schools across the United States in 1967, the establishment of Special Olympics in 1968, the creation of major centers for the study of medical ethics at Harvard and Georgetown Universities in 1971, the creation of the “Community of Caring” concept for the reduction of intellectual disabilities among babies of teenagers in 1981, the institution of 16 “Community of Caring” Model centers in 1982, and the establishment of “Community of Caring” programs in 1200 public and private schools from 1990-2006. Recognized throughout the world for her efforts on behalf of persons with intellectual disabilities, Shriver received many honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Legion of Honor, the Priz de la Couronne Francaise, the Mary Lasher Award, the Phillip Murray-William Green Award (presented to Eunice and Sargent Shriver by the AFL-CIO), the AAMD Humanitarian Award, the NRPAS National Volunteer Service Award, the Laetare Medal of the University of Notre Dame, the Order of the Smile of Polish Children (a smile you can SEA above you by my good friend Justin Sawicki of Cotuit, Massachusetts!), the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Freedom from Want Award, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the Laureus Sports Award, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Theodore Roosevelt Award, and the International Olympic Committee Award. Her honorary degrees included: Yale University, the College of the Holy Cross, Princeton University, Regis College, Manhattenville College, Newton College, Brescia College, Central Michigan University, Loyola College, University of Vermont, Albertus Mangus College, Cardinal Strich University, Georgetown University, and Marymount University. On 24 March 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan awarded Shriver with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for her work on behalf of person’s with intellectual disabilities, and, in 2005, she was honored for her work with Special Olympics as one of the first recipients of a sidewalk medallion on The Extra Mile Point of Light Pathway in Washington, D.C. Eunice Kennedy Shriver died on August 11th, 2009. Her husband, Sargent Shriver, died on January 18, 2011. They are survived by their five children: Robert Sargent Shriver III, Maria Owings Shriver Schwarzenegger, Timothy Perry Shriver, Mark Kennedy Shriver and Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver. The smile you SEA above you and the medals you see right below were awarded to a young man of polish decent whom I am proud to call my friend, Justin Sawicki, whose dignity and person hood, independence and light are a testament to the power of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her life long work with those many ‘thought’ could not help themselves, or, be an integral part of our society, back in the dark age of ignorance and intolerance. Her legacy will remain forever in my heart and as WE all enjoy these upcoming Olympic summer games in London, England, may we take pause to remember those, like Justin, who have achieved far more than many of US ‘normal’ U.S. citizens could ever dream of. Have a nice day! PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M
July 12, 2012
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.