WASHINGTON, April 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Wyoming's top two youth volunteers of 2018, Logan Grosz, 18, of Torrington and Seamus Casey, 14, of Gillette, were honored in the nation's capital last night for their outstanding volunteer service during the 23rd annual presentation of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Logan and Seamus – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – each received $1,000 awards and personal congratulations from Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn at an award ceremony and gala dinner reception held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), named Logan and Seamus Wyoming's top high school and middle level youth volunteers in February. In addition to their cash awards, they each received an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent to Washington, D.C., for four days of recognition events.
Logan, a member of Goshen County 4-H and a senior at Southeast High School, organized fundraisers that yielded more than $7,500 to buy toys and equipment for Children's Hospital Colorado, where doctors have twice saved his life. Logan must travel three hours to the Denver area to receive treatment for his autoimmune disorder. "When I go see my doctors, they make me feel so welcome and speak to me in a language I can understand," said Logan. During one of his hospitalizations, he decided he wanted to give back to the hospital that had done so much for him, and at the same time do something that would make hospital stays a little easier for other young patients.
After the second time Logan was airlifted to the hospital, officials there asked him to be the hospital's "Champion" for the state of Wyoming. As a Champion, Logan tells his story at special events that have raised large amounts of money and awareness for the hospital, conducts his own fundraisers, and works with the hospital's foundation. The first fundraiser Logan organized was a "hat day" that allowed students to wear hats at school in exchange for a donation. The results of that event and a subsequent fundraiser enabled Logan to help purchase a specialized blood transfusion machine for the hospital, as well as toys, movies and video games for children being treated there.
Seamus, an eighth-grader at Sage Valley Junior High School, designed and completed his own three-day triathlon last summer to provide scholarships for the spouses and children of fallen and disabled military personnel. As an avid and accomplished rock climber, Seamus has attracted considerable attention for some of his climbs. He also has great admiration for U.S. service members. "I found a way to combine my love for climbing, along with my unexpected publicity, to thank those brave souls who make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom," said Seamus.
His plan was to undertake a three-day bouldering, bicycling and climbing triathlon to raise money for the Folds of Honor Foundation, which grants educational scholarships to the wives, husbands and children of fallen and disabled soldiers. To get ready, Seamus created a website to solicit donations; notified the local newspaper; made fliers, posters and business cards; and trained intensively. Finally, last July 19, he began his event. He "bouldered" 101 laps around the rock climbing tower at a local recreation center, then bicycled 65 miles in 90-degree heat to Devil's Tower, and then climbed to the summit of the famous butte. "My hard work paid off," said Seamus, reflecting on the more than $10,000 produced by his endurance test. He hopes to eventually raise $65,000 for the families of service members. "I hope the money I raise will show them that they are not forgotten," he said.
"These honorees exemplify something we've known for a long time – that young volunteers have the power to bring meaningful change to their communities," said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. "These students have shown leadership and determination well beyond their years, and it's a privilege to celebrate their service."
"Through their acts of service, these honorees drive home a powerful lesson for their peers: that one student really can make a difference," said Daniel P. Kelley, president of NASSP. "We are honored to shine a spotlight on the compassion, drive and ingenuity of each of these young volunteers."
Youth volunteers in grades 5-12 were invited to apply for 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of Points of Light's HandsOn Network. More than 29,000 middle level and high school students nationwide participated in this year's program.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program was created in 1995 to identify and recognize young people for outstanding volunteer service – and, in so doing, inspire others to volunteer, too. In the past 23 years, the program has honored more than 120,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student's potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council. Learn more at www.nassp.org.
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