Presidential Citizens Medal
Kimberly McGuiness awarded a Presidential Citizens Medal
Posted on 08/04/2010
When you can’t always make your thoughts and wishes known to those around you, it is nice to know that you have a champion working to help others understand. For deaf and hard of hearing children in Georgia that champion is Kimberly McGuiness. Her work on behalf of deaf children earned her a visit to the White House today as McGuiness was presented with a Presidential Citizens Medal from President Barack Obama. McGuiness, an assistive technology specialist for Floyd County Schools, and 12 other citizens were awarded with the second highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A presentation ceremony was held this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the White House.

Kimberly McGuiness works each day to help speech impaired children in Floyd County Schools to communicate with their teachers but she is being recognized for her efforts outside of the classroom. She is lauded in her nomination for the award as a tireless worker to improve the lives of deaf children. Mrs. McGuiness is personally invested in the future of these children as her child is a student at Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring. Locally, McGuiness serves as chair of the GSD School Council and participates in numerous school programs, committees and activities. In the nomination she is also credited with convincing the Georgia Legislature to pass a law that enables high school students to earn foreign language credit for American Sign Language. Her letters, calls and visits to state legislators aided in the passage of Georgia’s Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights. 

The Presidential Citizens Medal was established by Executive Order in 1969 for the purpose of recognizing American citizens “who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country and their fellow citizens”. McGuiness was nominated for the medal by Dr. Lee Shiver, director of GSD. Dr. Shiver and McGuiness’ family accompanied her to Washington for the ceremony.