By Geneva Sands - 02/15/13 04:15 PM EST
“It is my distinguished honor to award these individuals the 2012 Citizens Medal for their commitment to public service,” said the president in a press release earlier this month. “Their selflessness and courage inspire us all to look for opportunities to better serve our communities and our country.”
The ideal nominee is a person whose work has "had a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of others," according to the White House.
Of the nearly 6,000 public nominations were submitted, 18 that were chosen, including six women that were killed in the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting, a former senator, a pediatric expert and the founders of veterans support programs among others.