Paul Simon Award
The Paul Simon Courage in Public Service Award was developed by the Lutheran Network for Justice Advocacy (now Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois), Lutheran Child and Family Services, and Lutheran Social Services of Illinois to recognize a public official from Illinois who exemplifies the late Senator Simon’s commitment to developing just, compassionate, and responsible public policy. Patti Simon, Senator Simon’s widow, helped introduce the award in 2004.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, a protégé of Paul Simon, and his successor in the U.S. Senate, was the recipient of the first annual Paul Simon Courage in Public Service Award in 2005.
At the inauguration of the Paul Simon Award, Patti Simon said, "You too, can have the same courage a public official has when he or she comes up with legislation that isn’t very popular, and do something that really helps a lot of people. You can do the same in your communities, in your churches, in your schools. And so I hope this is something you remember ... that this award is made in the memory of Paul for a public person, and you too, are a public person."
2021 Paul Simon Award Recipient
Throughout her career, State Representative Robyn Gabel has maintained a strong commitment to serving the people of Illinois as an advocate for women, children, and families. She served as Executive Director of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy organization, from 1988 to 2010 and previously worked as legislative aid to Alderman (now Congressman) Luis Gutierrez.
Her legislative priorities include affordable and accessible health care, environment and sustainability, education, and economic development. She has a B.A. from Beloit College, an M.S.P.H. from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and an M.J. in Health Law from Loyola University Chicago. She has one daughter, Lilah.