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."
George H. Sheldon, Former Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Sen. Patricia Van Pelt & Rep. Kelly Cassidy
State Sen. Dan Kotowski & Judy Baar Topinka
Julie Hamos, Former Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Dawn Clark Netsch, Former Illinois Senator and Comptroller
Men & Women serving in the Illinois National Guard
Michelle Saddler, Secretary of Illinois, Department of Human Services
State Senator Kwame Rauol (13th Senate District)
Pat Quinn, Illinois Governor
Rep. Barbara Flynn-Currie, Majority Leader, Illinois House of Representatives (25th District)
Rep. Lane Evans & Joe Hartzler, Former Illinois Congressman (17th Congressional District), Assistant U.S. Attorney
James R. Thompson, Former Illinois Governor & Member of the 911 Commission
Senator Dick Durbin, Deputy Majority Leader, United States Senate