Independence, Mo. — Former President Bill Clinton accepted the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award on Wednesday, urging a crowd of more than 600 in the late president’s hometown to become “citizen servants.”
Clinton was the 35th recipient of the award, presented each year by Independence officials to an individual they believe best exemplifies public service.
In a ceremony on the front steps of the Truman Presidential Museum and Library, Clinton accepted a statuette of Truman from Independence Mayor Dan Reimal.
“I think every last one of us has to ask, what do we need to do to solve our common problems?” Clinton said in his acceptance speech.
Clinton was chosen for the honor for his public service before, during and after his eight-year presidency. The ceremony highlighted his post-White House work on international initiatives against AIDS and climate change, and his efforts with former President George H.W. Bush to raise money for relief following the southeast Asian tsunami of 2004.
Clinton said he has noticed a “movement” of community efforts in the U.S. and other countries as citizens realize they can work on their own to handle many of the issues confronting, such as fighting hunger and diseases.
While government undoubtedly has a responsibility, Clinton said, people shouldn’t wait to tackle community problems on their own.