WASHINGTON (KXAN) — At least three Texans will receive what’s considered the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Joe Biden released the list of 17 honorees to the Associated Press Friday, which includes names like actor Denzel Washington and the late politician John McCain.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is set to receive the honor. She grew up in Spring, Texas, which is north of Houston, after being adopted. In August 2021, she was welcomed home after competing in the Tokyo Olympics, where she put an emphasis on the mental health of athletes.
In September 2021, Biles, along with other decorated gymnasts, testified to a Senate Judiciary Committee about the investigation into the sexual abuse they suffered from former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar.
Another medal recipient, Juliet V. Garcia is the first Mexican-American woman in the country to become president of a college or university when she got the job in 1986 at Texas Southmost College. She also served at the University of Texas at Brownsville and was named one of the nation’s best college presidents by TIME Magazine.
Lastly, Civil rights advocate Raúl Yzaguirre was born in San Juan, Texas and for three decades served as the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, now known as UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. He was also a U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic under former president Barack Obama.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.