President Bush today awarded UM President Donna Shalala the Presidential Medal of Freedom, praising her "efforts to help more Americans live lives of purpose and dignity."
Bush had the audience cracking up when he recounted a story about her parents trying to find her after a tornado struck her house and neighborhood. She was 10 at the time, Bush said.
"Her parents searched throughout the house for young Donna, but couldn't find her anywhere," he said at the ceremony in the East Room at the White House. "She was finally spotted down the road, standing in the middle of the road directing traffic. Even at a young age she was ready to take charge."
She was lauded for her tenure on a presidential commission that looked at ways to improve veterans health care.