Washington, DC-Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi announced today that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has officially approved the design of the Congressional Gold Medal to honor the U.S. Army's 65th Infantry Regiment, a mostly Puerto Rican unit whose members are known as Borinqueneers. The medal design was approved by Sarah Bloom Raskin, the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
"The formal approval of the design for the Borinqueneers' Congressional Gold Medal by the Department of the Treasury is a very significant step because the U.S. Mint will now begin the process of striking the medal and producing bronze duplicates. Once the medal has been struck by the U.S. Mint, it will be unveiled at a major ceremony that will be held at the U.S. Capitol. Duplicate medals will then be made available by the U.S. Mint for purchase by the public," said the Resident Commissioner.
Last June the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), a group of experts that advises the U.S. Mint, met to review design proposals. Based on extensive input from the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Design Liaison Team, which spearheaded the design process for months, the CCAC selected the design that will now be used to strike the Borinqueneers' Congressional Gold Medal.
The bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Borinqueneers-authored by Pierluisi and Congressman Bill Posey of Florida-was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in May 2014, and signed into law by President Obama at an historic ceremony June 10th of last year that was attended by numerous Borinqueneers. Following enactment of the bill into law, the U.S. Mint-at the recommendation of Pierluisi, Posey, Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida-designated two respected individuals, Javier Morales and Samuel Rodríguez, to serve as the official Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Design Liaison Team.
The role of the Liaison Team was to solicit original design concepts for the medal from members of the Regiment and other stakeholders, to communicate these concepts to the U.S. Mint, the CCAC, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), and to assist in shepherding the medal through the entire design and approval process. In January, the Liaison Team made a presentation to the CCAC based on a comprehensive, 75-page report that the Liaison Team compiled, which provided background information about the achievements of the Borinqueneers and synthesized the multitude of recommendations that the Liaison Team gathered from stakeholders.
This report served as the basis for the development of several design options by the artists at the U.S. Mint. "I reiterate my appreciation for the outstanding work that has been done by the Design Liaison Team and for the U.S. Mint's diligent efforts in facilitating this process. I am looking forward to the ceremony where the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal will be officially unveiled and am working with the Office of the Speaker of the House to schedule the date for that ceremony, which is anticipated to be held sometime early in 2016," added Pierluisi. Since Pierluisi's bill was signed into law, the Borinqueneers have been honored in many ways, including with a special tribute during the 2014 Hispanic Heritage Awards and by NASCAR at the 2015 Daytona 500.