The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded by the U.S. Congress and is the legislative branch's equivalent to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is awarded by the President. Congressional Gold Medals are awarded to individuals, whether American or not, who provide a great service or perform a heroic deed that benefits the United States.
Nelson was nominated by a pair of DFW-area members of the House of Representatives. The congressmen need to get two-thirds of their fellow House members, plus two-thirds of senators, to sign on as cosponsors, then their bill goes to the respective chambers' committees for a vote.
Nelson has long been regarded as one of the finest gentleman our sport has ever known. But in addition to being an all-around good man, Nelson has some specific achievements the two representatives cited in their letter to fellow congressmen seeking cosponsors:
Byron Nelson and the EDS Byron Nelson Championship has raised over 88,000,000
for the Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers, a nonprofit agency that provides education and mental health services for more than 2,700 children and their families in the greater Dallas area. Additionally, the Byron and Louise Nelson Golf Endowment Fund has provided over $1.5 million in endowment funds to Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. Another example of his service is his dedication to the Metroport Meals on Wheels which provides daily, home-delivered, hot lunch for the frail, elderly and chronically ill residents. Byron Nelson has been an active honorary chairman since 1992.
Granted, such honors aren't the most important things that our Congressmen could - or should - be spending their time on. But time is spent on such things, and a finer representative from the world of golf could not be chosen.
The effort to get Byron a Congressional Gold Medal shouldn't meet with any resistance from the Texas delegation. But if you live outside of Texas and want to see Nelson so honored, contact your representatives.