Kennedy family reveals Profile in Courage Award will honor COVID-19 heroes


The Kennedy family has honored public figures for their service since 1989 with the Profile in Courage Award, but this year they are looking for help in recognizing a special group of heroes.

Former U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, 62, the only surviving child of former President John F. Kennedy, and her son, Jack Schlossberg, 27, JFK's only grandson, announced Thursday on TODAY that they are inviting members of the public to submit stories of people on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis in their communities for this year's special Profile in Courage Award.

Multiple nominees will be chosen as recipients of the prestigious award at the Profile in Courage ceremony, which will be held when it's safe to have large gatherings in person, according to the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

"Each year at this time, we look forward to marking my father's birthday by presenting the annual Profile in Courage Award to public servants who put country first," Caroline Kennedy said in a statement. "But this year everything has changed, and we want to honor the courage we are seeing all around us."

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"Courage was the quality my grandfather most admired," Schlossberg said. "Every day, I am inspired by the courage shown by the doctors, nurses, first responders, public safety officials and other essential workers risking everything to help others during the COVID pandemic. We look forward to honoring the heroes who are keeping us safe when we need it most."

People can submit stories about those who have demonstrated courage during the pandemic on the JFK Library website or on social media using the hashtag #COVIDCourage. Nominations will be accepted through the end of August and the recipients, who are chosen by a committee, will be announced in the fall.

The award was created 31 years ago to honor President Kennedy's birthday on May 29 and his commitment to public service. It's named in honor of his famous 1957 book, "Profiles in Courage," which tells the stories of eight U.S. senators who took principled stands for unpopular positions at the risk of their careers.

Former recipients of the award include Presidents Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford and members of Congress like John McCain, Gabrielle Giffords and John Lewis. Last year's recipient was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Originally published