Legendary entertainer and philanthropist Jerry Lewis has received awards from Paris, but not from the president of the United States. What is it going to take?
I am writing on behalf of the millions of people with muscular dystrophy who have received help from Jerry Lewis, as well as the millions who have enjoyed Mr. Lewis for decades for his wonderful entertainment. I also speak for the 750 people who signed the Internet petition to have him receive the Presidential Freedom Award this term.
As an artist who has worked with the handicapped, I know too well how much it means to have assistance provided for those who are forgotten and desperately need help. I remember watching Jerry Lewis' telethons as a young child and telling my mother how great he was for helping so many.
I wrote to President Obama in 2009, 2011 and this year, nominating Jerry Lewis for this award. The president never responded to my letters. Instead, each year he continued to honor others and deny this United States treasure.
For more than 47 years, Jerry Lewis raised hundreds of millions of dollars to provide aid, medicine and equipment to people afflicted with this dreadful disease. He is responsible for prolonging the lives of millions. Mr. Lewis is also a legendary entertainer who has written, produced and directed many films for Paramount Studios and many others. He is an icon who has inspired Americans to pursue their dreams while providing laughter and hope to many. His efforts are for the love of children; he doesn't need the money.
His movies are the type that children should be watching. Instead, they feast on sex, violence and innuendo. Yet, other entertainers are honored year after year while Mr. Lewis goes unnoticed. There is not one who has ever been given this honor who has done more than Mr. Lewis to help Americans.
Jerry Lewis is 86 years old and in failing health. God Almighty has spared this man for many years to allow him to continue his great work. He is a blessing to this country and should be recognized for the great contributions he has made both as an entertainer and humanitarian before he leaves this Earth.
BARBARA JEAN DANNER
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