LA-based non-profit founder Father Greg Boyle receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Father Greg Boyle, the founder and director of the Los Angeles non-profit Homeboy Industries, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award is the highest civilian honor in the U.S. 

The Medal of Freedom often recognizes a lifetime of significant achievements in the arts, public service, science and other fields, and is awarded by the President of the United States.

"These 19 Americans built teams, coalitions, movements, organizations and businesses that shaped America for the better. They are the pinnacle of leadership in their fields. They consistently demonstrated over their careers the power of community, hard work and service," said Biden in a statement.

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Boyle is a Jesuit Catholic priest who started Homeboy Industries, the world's largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program for formerly incarcerated people.

"Father Greg saved my life," said actor Joseph Lucero at Homeboy Industries' 2024 Lo Máximo Gala. Lucero said he was given a job through Homeboy Industries when he was released from prison 23 years ago.

Homeboy Industries offers a range of services to all their homeboys and homegirls. But for Lucero during his early days in the program, one specific service stands out.

"The hugs," said Lucero. "They talk about unconditional love, but that is unconditional. It doesn't matter if you did something wrong or did something right. That hug is still the same."

Other Medal of Freedom recipients include Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry and Katie Ledecky.

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President Joe Biden will present Boyle with the Medal of Freedom during a ceremony Friday at the White House.