WASHINGTON -- Two Chicago area women with inspiring stories of helping people in need were at the White House on Wednesday, each winning from President Obama one of the nation's highest public service awards.
As their families watched, Lisa Nigro, an East Rogers Park resident, and Daisy M. Brooks from North Chicago received the 2010 Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor in the country, handed out for more than 40 years. They were among 13 winners selected from 6,000 people whose names were submitted by the public for the award.
Nigro, 49, a former Chicago Police officer, is the founder of the Inspiration Corp., which offers a package of services to assist the homeless, including the Inspiration Cafe at 4554 N. Broadway and the Living Room Cafe at 63rd and Woodlawn.
"Nigro receives the Citizens Medal for her tireless service to her fellow citizens," the White House said.
Brooks, 72, is the founder of Daisy's Resource and Developmental Center in North Chicago, which delivers a variety of educational and social services to people who need extra help.
"Brooks receives the Citizens Medal for offering guidance and support to young women across Chicago," the White House said.
Winning the honor was "exciting and a blessing, and I didn't think I deserved this type of award," Brooks told me.
The women met Obama at a reception before the ceremony.
A LUCKY STRIKE DAY: BOWLING AT THE WHITE HOUSE
Nigro told me she wished Obama a happy birthday and made a request. "I know this is crazy, crazy to ask you this, but I always wanted to bowl in the White House." Obama obliged, and Ebs Burnough, the deputy White House social secretary, took Nigro and her family to the White House bowling alley.
Said Nigro, "Today, absolutely I had a strike."