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Long Island officials honor two Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

The Nassau and Suffolk County executives came together at a special reception on Monday to honor Long Island’s two Medal of Freedom recipients. 

The two Long Islanders who received the Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden this month were Father Alex Karloutsos of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, and Dr. Sandra Lindsay, the Northwell Health nurse who was one of the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Lindsay, who received the vaccine on live television in December 2020, said the award made her think about the challenges facing health care workers. 

“We need to promote meaningful discussions about stressors we face, like mental health [and] student loan debt," Lindsay said, "so we can fully focus on healing — on the healing that we do, and the healing that, as healthcare workers, we so need.” 

Father Alex Karloutsos, former Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, is one of the most well-known and influential figures in the Greek Orthodox Church. He's served as an advisor to eight U.S. presidents.

"It really comes down to God's amazing grace for each and every one of us," Karloutsos said of the Medal of Freedom recipients. "We came from different lands, diverse traditions, but we were blessed to come to the United United States of America."

Karloutsos and Lindsay were among 17 recipients including gun control activist, Gabrielle Giffords, and Olympic gymnast, Simone Biles.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the country’s highest civilian honor. It’s presented to those who have made a significant impact on the country or the world. 

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.