On Saturday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver stood under a clear blue sky on the steps of the Truman Library and accepted the Harry S. Truman Award for Public Service.
The award, Independence’s highest honor bestowed on a civilian, was presented by Mayor Eileen Weir. In her speech, Weir praised Cleaver for his long career in public service. Before serving in Congress, Cleaver was a member of the Kansas City Council and became the city’s first African-American mayor in 1991. He was also senior pastor at St. James United Methodist Church for 37 years.
“This award touches my very soul,” Cleaver told the crowd.
The congressman said it’s important for every person to find his or her own way to serve the community.
“Struggling until you find your way to serve is what we all must do,” he said.
Cleaver also praised President Truman and said that he and other Missouri lawmakers are working to put the 33rd president’s name on Union Station in Washington, D.C.
“Harry Truman does not have a monument in Washington,” Cleaver said. “We’re trying to change that this summer.”
If the bill passes, Union Station will become known as Harry S. Truman Union Station.
Earlier in the ceremony, the Missouri Mavericks ice hockey team was awarded the Harry S. Truman Special Recognition Award.
Team President Brent Thiessen accepted the award on behalf of the Mavericks, who last year raised more than $1 million for a list of charities that includes the Community Services League, the Independence unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and the Great Plains SPCA.