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Oprah, Ernie Banks To Receive Presidential Medal Of Freedom Awards

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Oprah Winfrey and Ernie Banks. (Credit: Rob Kim, Andy Lyons, Getty images)

Oprah Winfrey and Ernie Banks. (Credit: Rob Kim, Andy Lyons, Getty images)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago is well represented on this year’s list of Presidential Medal of Freedom Award winners as Oprah Winfrey and Mr. Cub Ernie Banks will be among the recipients.

Oprah Winfrey will be honored not just for her TV career but also cited by the White House for her charity work and expanding opportunities for young women.

Ernie Banks played 19 seasons with the Cubs and was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

Late this afternoon, he released this statement: “I have spent my life trying to help others enjoy and appreciate the sport I love…. Cubs fans everywhere share in this award.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Regarding this year’s nominees, President Obama says: “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”

A total of 16 medals will be handed out this year. Other recipients include former President Bill Clinton, singer Loretta Lynn, astronaut Sally Ride and ”Ms. Magazine” founder Gloria Steinem.

Oprah, Ernie and all 16 honorees will receive their medals at the White House later this year.

This is the 50th Anniversary of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. John F. Kennedy handed out the first and more than 500 people have gotten one since.