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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Statement of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver
August 11, 2009

"This morning we lost a leader and advocate for youth and children, and a woman whose spirit transcended our society in countless ways. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the founder of the Special Olympics and taught us the meaning of acceptance and understanding for people with intellectual disabilities. Her unique and compassionate vision blossomed into one of the great American and global institutions of our time. Her work — and her life — were a source of joy and dignity for so many, and she educated and empowered countless people of all ages around the world.

"But Eunice's influence will also live on in other ways. As the wife of Robert 'Sargent' Shriver, she provided guidance and wise counsel to her husband, who founded the Department of Labor's Job Corps program, which — celebrating its 45th anniversary next week — still provides invaluable education, job training and life skills to our country's at-risk youth.

"Eunice Shriver was one of those people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes but was ahead of her time. She was a quiet leader. Coming from a family of public servants, she never ran for a political office, but her love for her country, and commitment to public service and something bigger than herself, is what I have admired about her for a very long time.

"As a Californian, she will hold a special place in my heart. As the mother of the state's first lady, Eunice was an unofficial resident, advocate and ambassador for California. Her visits 'out West' were always welcomed by family, friends and residents.

"I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the Shriver and Kennedy families during this difficult time. And as I join millions of other Americans who mourn the loss of this pioneering woman, I also join in celebrating her life and feeling extraordinarily grateful for everything that she did."