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Statement of Congressman Richard E. Neal on the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver

August 11, 2009
Press Release

(WASHINGTON) The following is the statement released by Congressman Richard E. Neal following the passing of Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver this morning in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

“As a friend and supporter of the Kennedy family for more than 40 years, I am deeply saddened to learn that Eunice Kennedy Shriver has passed away. Having met her on many occasions, she was a remarkably bright and energetic woman who lived a life dedicated to improving the lives of others. I fondly remember her visits western Massachusetts either campaigning for her brother Ted, or for her tireless support of those with intellectual disabilities.

Through her groundbreaking work in the Special Olympics, she brought the Kennedy family’s well known commitment to public service to a challenging and different endeavor. But one that was deeply personal. Inspired by her sister Rosemary, she began to raise awareness of the developmentally disabled in the early 1960’s, and continued to champion that cause for the rest of her life.

I can say emphatically that Eunice Kennedy Shriver singlehandedly made the Special Olympics the great success it is today. For her efforts, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It was a fitting tribute to an extraordinary woman.

During this difficult hour, my thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy and Shriver families. May she rest in peace.”