On January 15, 1998, I was at the White House, seated in the East Room, to receive our country's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I was overwhelmed that day—and I am still overwhelmed. In the front row before a low stage, I sat with other honorees, including David Rockefeller, Admiral Zumwalt, Brooke Astor, James Farmer, and Dr. Robert Coles. Each of us had a military aide to escort us to the podium when our name was called. When it was my turn, President Clinton introduced me with these words:

In 1976, the Girl Scouts of America, one of our country's greatest institutions, was near collapse. Frances Hesselbein, a former volunteer from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, led them back, both in numbers ...

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