Salisbury’s Dole receives Medal of Freedom

Published 12:10 am Saturday, May 4, 2024

WASHINGTON — Salisbury’s Elizabeth Dole joined an exclusive club on Friday.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a release on that its founder and chair emeritus, Dole, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a White House ceremony with President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the world.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award from President and Dr. Biden,” Dole said upon learning of the award. “It is humbling indeed to be counted among those who have received this award in the past, including my precious husband, Bob Dole. We live in the greatest country in the world, and I’ve been blessed to serve in roles, with incredible colleagues, where we could make a positive difference in the lives of our fellow citizens. Working together, regardless of our differences, is how we will ensure America continues to be a beacon of hope and freedom.”

Elizabeth Dole Foundation CEO Steven Schwab added, “Senator Dole’s legacy of public service can be measured by the countless lives she has impacted through her work. Whether it’s negotiating across party lines, pursuing bold domestic policy reforms, or building a new movement to support military and veteran families, she has always believed our nation’s great accomplishments happen when we bring people together. We thank the Bidens for recognizing Senator Dole’s extraordinary life of public service.”

Dole was the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation and to lead a branch of the armed forces, the United States Coast Guard. She was also the first woman to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate and only the second woman to serve as president of the American Red Cross.

As transportation secretary, she negotiated a trifecta of regulations and laws that have saved nearly 500,000 lives to date, with a projected additional 20,000 each year — mandatory seat belts, air bags and age 21 drinking minimum.

As secretary of labor, Dole led initiatives that increased workplace safety and protected at-risk youth. During her eight years at the American Red Cross, she oversaw a massive and successful transformation of how the Red Cross collects, tests and distributes half of the nation’s blood supply, ensuring that blood is safe to give and safe to get.

Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of Dole’s more than half a century of service is that it continues to this day. Since 2012, she has raised awareness of the needs of military and veteran caregivers and galvanized support for this community at the local, state and national levels. Millions of Americans caring for a service member or veteran have been deeply impacted because of her commitment to transforming the military and veteran healthcare system.