WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today sent a letter to President Barack Obama with 17 additional bipartisan signatures to ask that Joe Paterno be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“The Medal of Freedom has always stood for those who make a contribution to making our nation a better place to live,” said Thompson. “I believe Joe Paterno represents an ideal of what student and college athletics should be.”
“Rarely has the award been made to someone who has personified sportsmanship on the field of play and academic achievement in the classroom,” Thompson wrote in the letter. “It is our hope, that this year the Medal of Freedom does just that by honoring Joe Paterno for his contribution to the coaching of football, his commitment to the academic integrity of the young men under his charge, and his deep dedication to education in general.”
The letter was signed by 16 other Representatives from Pennsylvania and one from Virginia, Rep. Frank Wolf, who wanted his signature to reflect that he is a Penn State Alumni, “Class of 1961”.
Thompson listed Paterno’s many accomplishments in the letter. “He has amassed nearly 400 wins, more than any other coach in Division I history. His program has never been on probation. There has never been an accusation of corrupt recruiting and, in what is depressingly rare, his players stay in school and graduate.”
The letter also mentions Paterno’s strong support of the Pennsylvania Special Olympics and his fundraising and donations to libraries and need-based scholarships for Pennsylvanians.
It concludes: “As Joe Paterno prepares for his 45th year as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, we as Members of the Pennyslvania Congressional delegation are nominating him for the Presidential Medal of Freedom and ask that you give serious consideration to awarding it to him.”