CHEYENNE, Wyo., Feb. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Logan Grosz, 18, of Torrington and Seamus Casey, 14, of Gillette today were named Wyoming’s top two youth volunteers of 2018 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As State Honorees, Logan and Seamus each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in late April to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2018.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards logo

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 23rd year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

These are Wyoming’s top youth volunteers of 2018:

High School State Honoree: Logan Grosz
Nominated by Goshen County 4-H in Torrington

Logan, 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.         

Middle Level State Honoree: Seamus Casey
Nominated by Sage Valley Junior High School in Gillette

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 nearly $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.        

Distinguished Finalists

The program judges also recognized two other Wyoming students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

These are Wyoming’s Distinguished Finalists for 2018:

Sadie Hogan, 18, of Powell, Wyo., a senior at Hearthside Homeschool, is an active volunteer whose efforts include leading a project that filled 50 cinch sacks with donated food and toiletries, then donating them to the homeless. Sadie also serves her community as a coordinator with United Blood Services and has participated in a variety of volunteer activities with her 4-H and church.

Mickayla Vannatter, 15, of Guernsey, Wyo., a sophomore at Guernsey-Sunrise High School, led a project to promote kindness and friendship amongst children at her school by painting the playground, installing “buddy benches” and teaching interactive games to encourage bonding. With the goal of teaching kids at a young age to choose inclusion over bullying, Mickayla worked with her school administration, Girl Scout council, a local sponsor and volunteers to bring her idea to life.

“Prudential is proud to recognize these remarkable young people for using their energy, creativity and compassion to bring meaningful change to their communities,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We hope their stories inspire others to consider how they can do the same.”

“These middle level and high school students have not only improved the lives of the people and communities they’ve served – they also set an important example for their peers,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “These honorees prove that you’re never too young to make a difference.”

About The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. All public and private middle level and high schools in the country, as well as all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of Points of Light’s HandsOn Network, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award. These Local Honorees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria including personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth. 

While in Washington, D.C., the 102 State Honorees – one middle level and one high school student from each state and the District of Columbia – will tour the capital’s landmarks, meet top youth volunteers from other parts of the world, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. On April 30, 10 of the State Honorees – five middle level and five high school students – will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2018. These National Honorees will receive additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.  

Since the program began in 1995, more than 120,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level. The program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, China, Brazil and Poland. In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program also distributes President’s Volunteer Service Awards to qualifying Local Honorees.

For information on all of this year’s Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visit http://spirit.prudential.com or www.nassp.org/spirit.

About NASSP

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high quality professional learning experiences. 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. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visit www.nassp.org.

About Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit www.news.prudential.com.

For Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallion graphics, please visit https://spirit.prudential.com/resources/media

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SOURCE Prudential Financial, Inc.