The Big Award Barack Obama Wishes He’d Given Dolly Parton

Barack Obama was on A Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote his new book, A Promised Land, and they talked politics, pandemic, and more. Colbert also asked, “How does Dolly Parton not have a Presidential Medal of Freedom?” (via YouTube). Obama’s response, “That’s a mistake. I’m shocked. That was a screw-up. I’m surprised. I think I assumed that she had already got one, and that was incorrect.” He followed up by saying that he would call President-elect Joe Biden and put in a good word for the singer.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor in the country, and it’s been given to the likes of Mother Teresa, Steven Spielberg, Rosa Parks. It’s for those who make “exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Parton’s still doing all right overall awards-wise: The rags-to-riches singer has been nominated for 50 Grammys and won 9, per Grammy Awards; according to Fox News, she’s won 12 CMAs; and she was on the list of 100 for USA Today‘s Women of the Century.

Another reason Dolly Parton is worthy of the award

Another reason to add to a long list of contributions to her country is her hand in helping with making a Coronavirus vaccine. Back in April, the singer tweeted, “My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure. I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.”

She made good on her promise, and her donation was apparently instrumental in the quick creation of the Moderna vaccine; the country crooner is credited in a New England Journal of Medicine article as a supporter of the Moderna vaccine. Dr. Abumrad confirmed just how valuable her gift was, when he told the The Washington Post, “Without a doubt in my mind, her funding made the research toward the vaccine go 10 times faster than it would be without it.”

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