In celebration of her extraordinary contributions to and selfless work within the community, Christiana Care Health System employee Sue Sokira was honored at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony on June 20 in Washington, D.C.
Sokira was recognized along with 103 other Americans at the 39th Annual Jefferson Awards, one of the nation’s highest honors for community service and volunteerism.
Known as the “Nobel Prize” for public service, the awards are presented each year over two days of ceremonies in the nation’s capital and New York City. The events recognize a broad array of honorees—from high-profile individuals who have dedicated the better part of their lives to public service to celebrated professional athletes to largely unheralded community-based volunteers.
As the 2011 winner of the Christiana Care Jefferson Award for Outstanding Community Service, Sue Sokira embodies the spirit of the Awards. When not at work as a transfer center representative in the Emergent Transport Access Center at Christiana Care, Sokira works as a firefighter and EMT. She also raises money each year for the March of Dimes and for several 5K races, including the Tunnel to Towers run in memory of a New York City firefighter. During the holidays, she adopts a family and raises funds for supplies for our men and women in the military. And, if that isn’t enough, she convinced the Cranston Heights Fire Company to donate a used vehicle to a local family in need.
This year’s honorees also included Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actress and philanthropist Marlo Thomas, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry M. Reinsdorf, Share Our Strength founder Bill Shore, former Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn and Brittany and Robbie Bergquist, the brother and sister co-founders of Cell Phones for Soldiers.
“Our nation’s greatness is derived in large measure from its goodness— from the largely unheralded yet noble Americans whose commitment to helping others embodies the founding ideals of our democracy,” said Sam Beard, founder and president of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. “The Jefferson Awards serve to celebrate those among us whose selflessness, altruism and generosity of spirit represent the best of America. The tireless work of individuals such as Sue Sokira not only improves their own communities but serves to dignify our nation as a whole. We owe them our thanks and offer these congratulations.”
The 2011 grassroots awards celebration was held from Monday, June 20, in the grand ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, June 21, the recipients had the opportunity to visit with their U.S. senators on Capitol Hill, with national awards being presented that evening at a gala awards ceremony at the National Building Museum.
The Jefferson Award recipients are nominated from throughout the country and selected by the organization’s board of directors, who include Hank Aaron, the Hon. Julian Bond, Cris Collinsworth, Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, the Hon. Mitch McConnell, the Hon. Harry Reid, Neil Simon, Leslie Stahl and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Honorees are chosen based on two main criteria: the outstanding nature of the acts of service and the impact on the community of those acts. Past recipients of the award include Lance Armstrong, Kirk Douglas, Peyton Manning, Oprah Winfrey, Sally Ride, Bill & Melinda Gates, Dr. C. Everett Koop, General Colin Powell and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.