Gov. Doug Burgum named North Dakota native and former U.S. Secret Service agent Clint Hill as the 44th recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award Friday.
Hill served in the Secret Service from 1958 to 1975. He is perhaps best known for leaping onto the back of President John F. Kennedy’s vehicle when he was shot in Dallas in 1963 and urging the driver to get to the hospital.
"Every day, there's something that reminds me of either the Kennedy administration, Mrs. Kennedy, or President Kennedy or the children," Hill told the Grand Forks Herald last year. "There isn't a day that goes by that there isn't a song I hear, a magazine I see the cover of, a newspaper article, something mentioned on the TV or on the radio—every day, there's something."
The award recognizes current and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national prominence. Past recipients include former basketball coach Phil Jackson, baseball legend Roger Maris and entertainer Lawrence Welk.
Paintings of award recipients hang in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Hall of Fame in the ground floor of the state Capitol. The award will be presented to Hill in person at a later date, according to Burgum’s office.
Burgum informed Hill of the award Wednesday.
“Clint Hill is an exceptional North Dakotan who has risked his life and health time and time again to protect our nation and its commander in chief,” Burgum said in a statement. “His exemplary record of service at the highest level of national security continues to inspire pride and respect among North Dakotans, and we are deeply grateful for his lifetime of service.”
Hill was born in Larimore but grew up in Washburn. He has co-authored three books about his time in the Secret Service, and a television series based on one of his books is in development with National Geographic.
Burgum, a former software executive who was first elected in 2016, is the first member of the Rough Rider Hall of Fame to hand out the award himself. Then-Gov. John Hoeven presented Burgum with the award in 2009 at the Microsoft campus in Fargo.