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Posted on: October 14, 2019

John and Gloria Golden, "Mr. and Mrs. Hyde Park," honored at the Val-Kill Medals Ceremony

Gloria and John Golden (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

Sunday, October 13th: Hyde Park residents John and Gloria Golden were honored at the annual Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Ceremony for originating philanthropic programs that helped develop the community, including donating 75 acres of property to the Hyde Park Central School District. Gloria Golden formerly worked with the National Park Service and spent time with Eleanor Roosevelt.

More from The Poughkeepsie Journal (link):

Sitting in the crowd of more than 300 people, Hillary Clinton smiled at her daughter sitting on stage.

The first lady was about to make history, again, by presenting her daughter with the Val-Kill award, the same one she received herself in 1995. The mother-daughter duo is the first in the award’s history.

Chelsea Clinton shared the moment of smiling back at her mom, as she was honored Sunday afternoon as one of five at the 32nd annual Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Ceremony.

"I am so humbled to be nominated and given this honor," Clinton said. "...Eleanor fundamentally believed in that if children could understand what human rights are, why they are important and why we each only have them, ultimately if we all have them. We had to inculcate that understanding and that commitment to, with the protection and advancement of the defense of human rights, in kids. That's why she wrote children's books, it's also why I write children's books."

Hillary Clinton, like most mothers do, took the microphone and proudly told the crowd of all her daughter's accomplishments. She added that she looks fondly at the time when she received her award as she is a "fangirl" of Eleanor Roosevelt.

"So many people didn't understand or didn't appreciate her or really didn't support her at all in what she was saying but she became in many ways the conscience as many of us recognize not only of that time in American history but really throughout America's history," Clinton said. "So I have to say that my daughter understands that at the core of her being, the truest test of a society is how we treat the most vulnerable among us."

Fellow honorees include Zainab Salbi, a humanitarian, author and global journalist; John and Gloria Kidd Golden, Hyde Park residents and philanthropists; Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises and gender equality champion. 

The recipients, known for their work as human rights and social justice activists, spoke before a crowd at the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site. They spoke highly about the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt and how they channel her strength and will today.  

April Gozza, director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, said the honorees have made a global impact.

“Eleanor Roosevelt’s life was built on a foundation of tremendous moral values,” Gozza said. “She believed that as inhabitants of the free world, we should take great care of one another. She was a humanitarian crusader for multiple causes, she was an advocate defender of human rights.”

And those qualities of the former first lady are representative of the award’s recipients. Pompey Delafield, Kate McCue and Becca Heller each spoke highly about the individuals they presented their respective medal to. 

For McCue, she was giving the medal to a woman who makes waves and showed her what a true "boss lady looks like." In 2015, Lutoff-Perlo hired McCue as the first female American captain of a mega-ton cruise ship. 

"She's raised the percentage of women who are on our entire bridge team globally, from 3% to over 23% globally in just a few years," McCue said. "...and she's only just begun. She's made opportunities for others where they didn't exist before like hiring the first African woman to work on the bridge of a cruise ship or promoting the first ever Ecuadorian woman to ever captain any ship."

Medals are given to people who embody the former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt's desire to build a better world through humanitarian efforts. Past honorees include Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Pete Seeger, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Tarana Burke.

Delafield referred to himself and John Golden "token males" among "gutsy women," referencing a book released this month by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton titled "The Book of Gutsy Women," which includes the Roosevelt's story. 

He also referred to the couple as "Mr. and Mrs. Hyde Park," as the two have spent the past 70 years dedicated to supporting the community, whether through municipal service or giving to the school district. 

"(Gloria Kidd-Golden) is the backbone of their almost 70 years of marriage," Delafield said. "Talk about gutsy women, Eleanor Roosevelt is credited as saying 'a woman is like a tea bag, you cannot tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water,' and Gloria has excelled at that while keeping her husband out of hot water."

What drives Zainab Salbi is "gutsy women," she said Sunday afternoon. She was celebrated for her leadership in helping women in war-torn regions to rebuild their communities and lives. Thirty years ago, when she was 23, she founded Women for Women International. 

"This century is going to be woman's century," Salbi said. "This is our century. It won't be enough for a woman to survive violence and only get out of their victimhood and into survival mode. It's not enough for us to only thrive, it's now for us to lead and show the world how do we lead from a feminine perspective."

Chelsea Clinton finished the honorees' time by sharing her appreciation for all the "gutsy" women her mother introduced into her life and how important it is to keep moving forward. 

"When I go home today and I look at my three little kids, there's just no space to be anything but optimistic," Chelsea Clinton said. "Even in this moment of horror and disappointment in our leaders because we've had leaders like Eleanor Roosevelt before and we will again."

Article by Ryan Santistevan: rsantistev@poughkeepsiejournal.com

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