Sen. Mark Kirk met in Chicago today with the president of Poland to receive an award from the leader, the Illinois Republican’s first official meeting in his office since suffering a massive stroke in January.
Kirk’s office posted two photos from the meeting, one of Kirk with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in which a cane can be see and the other of the medal bestowed to Kirk representing the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
“I am deeply honored that President Komorowski has chosen to present me with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Republic of Poland,” Kirk said. “Poland has long been a strong ally of the United States, and I look forward to furthering my work in the Senate to strengthen the burgeoning relationship between our two nations.”
Earlier this month, Kirk’s office released a series of videos of the Senator in which he not only spoke about his rehabilitation but also walked viewers through his rigorous routine at a Chicago-area rehab center. Though videos and photographs recently released show Kirk is making significant process, it’s unclear when he will return to Washington, D.C.
As for the ceremony today, Chicago has one of the largest Polish populations outside the country itself, with more than 1.5 million people claiming Polish descent. Kirk, along with Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who was with the Senator today, has been pushing for legislation that would provide a path for Poland’s participation in the federal government’s visa waiver program.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.