The Gerald R. Ford Medal for Distinguished Public Service has been awarded to former Secretary of the Treasury Paul H. O’Neill.
O’Neill has spent a lifetime serving the public and private sector. His devotion to public service began in 1961 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and continued under Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush who, in 2001, appointed O’Neill the 72nd secretary of the Treasury Department.
From a computer systems analyst for the U.S. Veterans Administration to deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Ford administration, Paul H. O’Neill’s professionalism and dedication earned him the 17th annual Gerald R. Ford Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
“The privilege of advising the leader of the free world on how to allocate resources, to reflect the priorities of the people, one of the greatest privileges ever. Probably the most impactful job I ever had in my life.”
During a 2015 recording of WGVU-TV’s Newsmakers, O’Neill explained that included the 13-years serving as the Chairman and CEO of Alcoa.
Mike Ford, son of President Ford and chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation said, “Dad always had the highest regard for Secretary O’Neill and his ability to keep our nation’s finances in check while serving as deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget, and later as secretary of the Treasury.”
O’Neill has the highest regard for his former boss. “I think we need heroes. Legit, real heroes. You know, people who have actually done it. So, for me President Ford is one of those heroes. You know, and one of those things that I care about is that we teach young people more about a president with character and who lives his life by values.”
The Ford Medal was first awarded to Federal Reserve Chairman Allan Greenspan in 2003.
Patrick Center, WGVU News.