Jim Kelly among winners of Jefferson Awards

Posted June 18, 2012 @ 2:55 p.m.
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By JESSICA GRESKO, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The director of the CIA, two musicians and a former Buffalo Bills quarterback are among the people being honored with a national prize for public service that was co-founded 40 years ago by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Recipients of the 2012 Jefferson Awards will accept their honors Tuesday in Washington during a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and at an evening celebration at Constitution Hall.

Three sports stars are being given awards. They are Hall of Fame hockey player Pat LaFontaine, who created a group that pays for game rooms for kids in hospitals around the country; race car driver Charlie Kimball, a diabetic who has become a spokesman for the issue; and Hall of Fame Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who with his wife, Jill, created a foundation in honor of his son Hunter. Hunter was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a rare genetic disorder that affects the central nervous system, and died in 2005 at age 8.

Most of the 18 recipients of the awards, dubbed a "Nobel Prize" for public service, are not celebrities. Finalists who will learn whether they won Tuesday include a leader of the Boy Scouts in Michigan, a Wisconsin woman who runs a local clothing drive, an Ohio mom who advocates for bicycle safety, and a grocery store employee from California who is the driving force behind the company's volunteer program.

The more well-known honorees include retired four-star Army general-turned-CIA director David Petraeus, who led U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and became head of the CIA in 2011. He's accepting the award for greatest public service by an elected or appointed official.

Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis and singer-actor Harry Connick Jr. are being honored for their efforts to rebuild New Orleans following 2005's Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans natives worked with Habitat for Humanity to build 72 homes for the city's displaced musicians and 10 duplexes for seniors. They also established a music center.

The awards don't come with any money; honorees get a medal and a certificate.

 

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