PASSAIC COUNTY – At the June 22nd meeting of the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Board unanimously passed a resolution urging President Obama to award New Jersey resident Lawrence “Yogi” Berra the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award of the United States to those citizens making “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". The current Medal of Freedom was established by President John F. Kennedy via Executive Order No. 11085 in 1963. Other distinguished New Jersey natives awarded the Medal include Dr. Lena Frances Edwards, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court William J. Brennan.
“Yogi Berra embodies all that is great about New Jersey and the United States,” stated Freeholder Director Hector C. Lora. I hope President Obama honors Yogi for his service to our nation, his professionalism and Hall of Fame career with the New York Yankees and his example as a champion for charitable causes and civil rights. Yogi Berra is worthy of this honor and deserving of our respect and admiration.”
Yogi Berra resides in Montclair, New Jersey and played 19 Major League seasons with the New York Yankees where he made fifteen All Star appearances, won three most valuable player awards and was a part of 10 World Series championship teams. A veteran of the Navy in World War II, Berra took part in the D-Day invasion in 1944 of Normandy that liberated the German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi Control and helped the Allies win the Western Front. In 1998, Yogi established the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Passaic County’s Little Falls, New Jersey on the campus of Montclair State University. The Museum serves over 20,000 children annually and is dedicated to promoting sportsmanship and professionalism.
“As a fellow immigrant from Italy as a young child, Yogi never failed to inspire and set an example for all of us looking for a better life in America,” stated Freeholder Pasquale “Pat” Lepore. “We are blessed that Yogi settled in New Jersey and that Passaic County was chosen for his Museum’s location. President Obama can find no better citizen more deserving of the Medal of Freedom, and I hope he takes swift action in recognizing Yogi’s contributions to our society over the last century.”