Gov. Whitmer receives Profile in Courage Award for COVID-19 work

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appears in a video with other Midwest governors encouraging adults to get...
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appears in a video with other Midwest governors encouraging adults to get a COVID-19 vaccine.(source: WJRT)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 11:44 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is one of seven people to receive the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation this year.

Whitmer received the award for her leadership in Michigan 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,” she said. “I am humbled by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Kennedy Family for their recognition.

Caroline Kennedy, who is the former president’s daughter, said the seven honorees to receive the annual Profile in Courage Awards all put their own lives at risk to keep others safe while facing COVID-19.

“They inspire us all with their courage and give new meaning to President Kennedy’s legacy of public service,” said Kennedy, who serves as honorary president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

The foundation noted that Whitmer invoked controversial orders early in the coronavirus pandemic by early March 2020 to close schools and businesses. She also issued a statewide mask mandate and imposed gathering restrictions, which the foundation credits for saving lives.

The award committee noted that Whitmer faced sustained backlash over the Stay Home, Stay Safe order and many other rules she imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. Tense protests took place at the State Capitol and a group of 14 men was accused of plotting to kidnap Whitmer in response to the restrictions.

However, the Kennedy foundation noted that Whitmer did not back down and remained focused on following science to get COVID-19 under control in Michigan.

“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,” Whitmer said.

She was among thousands of people nominated for Profile in Courage Awards this year. The seven recipients, including Whitmer, will be honored during a virtual ceremony on May 26.

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