42nd Jefferson Awards Celebrate the Impact of Public Service

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National Honorees include former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords, retired NFL wide receiver James Thrash, Scientist/Cancer Researcher Jack Andraka, Donorschoose.org founder Charles Best, and Dr. Pedro Jose Greer, Jr.

“Each year, we gather in our nation’s capital to recognize civic leaders who have exemplified the spirit of public service,” said Joseph N. Sanberg, Chairman of the Jefferson Awards Foundation.

The nation’s highest honor for community service is being awarded to five extraordinary individuals and organizations whose selfless, noble and compassionate work has improved the lives of countless people and amplified our nation’s collective commitment to helping one another and contributing to the larger good.

Co-founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard, the Jefferson Awards Foundation is the country’s longest standing and most prestigious organization dedicated to activating and celebrating public service. Through its programs, the Foundation trains and empowers individuals to serve and lead in their communities, magnifying their impact through a vast network of media partners, mentors and volunteers. Each year, the Foundation honors the most outstanding achievements in public service at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremonies.

This year’s Jefferson Awards – now in their 42nd year – recognize contributions to service in five separate categories, including: Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official; Outstanding Service in Professional Sports; Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 or Under; Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen; and Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, as well as additional honors for youth and other “unsung” heroes throughout the nation.

“Each year, we gather in our nation’s capital to recognize civic leaders who have exemplified the spirit of public service,” said Joseph N. Sanberg, Chairman of the Jefferson Awards Foundation. “By doing so, we honor the millions of other Americans who offer their time, their talents and their resources to the selfless cause of making others’ lives better. No matter the size of the effort, making a positive difference in another person’s life is a cause for celebration, and it brings great satisfaction to all of us to see the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s message of public service be such an integral part of community-building across this great country.”

The Jefferson Awards ceremonies will feature a special performance by The Original NFL Gospel Choir, comprised exclusively of NFL alumni and led by former defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts and current lead singer for the Miracles, Syd Justin. In addition, the Howard Gospel Choir, comprised of more than 70 Howard University students and alumni, under the direction of 2013 Howard University graduate Reginald Golden, will also perform.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation is committed to tapping into the incredible capacity and spirit of young people. Through its Students In Action, Lead360 Challenge, and GlobeChangers programs the Foundation supports, trains and empowers today’s youth to be leaders, problem solvers, entrepreneurs and impactful global citizens. In addition to identifying and celebrating unsung heroes serving in communities across the country, the Foundation partners with 23 prestigious corporate and university Champions to build a culture of service in workplaces and on campuses.

The 2014 Jefferson Awards honorees are:

U. S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected Official
Hon. Gabrielle Giffords, U.S. House of Representatives (Arizona), Ret.

All-Star Recipient: Outstanding Service in Professional Sports
James Thrash, Former NFL Wide Receiver

Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 or Under
Jack Andraka, Inventor, Scientist and Cancer Researcher

S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen
Charles Best, Founder and CEO, DonorsChoose.org                

Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged
Dr. Pedro Jose Greer Jr., Founder, Camillus Health Concern and Founder, St. John Bosco Clinic

The LEAD360 Challenge, formerly known as the Youth Service Challenge, recognizes individuals, schools, clubs, and faith-based or other organizations that work with kids. Five finalists compete in a social media voting contest. 76,000 people voted, Emma Rider won the most amount of votes.

Emma Rider, Quenching Souls

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award Recipients
Presented to five “Unsung Heroes” for their extraordinary and selfless volunteer work in their community, nominated by a Jefferson Awards Foundation media partners.

Jeremiah Anthony (Nominated by KCRG-TV9 & The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA)

Michelle Lacourciere (Nominated by KPIX-TV & KCBS Radio, San Francisco, CA)

Shawn and Amanda Bakker (Nominated by KSBW-TV, Salinas, CA)

Eric Fuchs-Stengel (Nominated by New Jersey Star-Ledger, NJ)

Stephen Tybor (Nominated by WTVA, ABC WTVA, and WLOV, Tupelo, MS)

Gold Award – Students In Action
Presented to a school whose exemplary program of student volunteerism has successfully instilled the values of service, leadership and ethics.

Washington Township High School, Washington, NJ

The Jefferson Awards have 23 Champions – corporations, colleges and universities, local governments and non-profits – that utilize the Jefferson Awards to honor outstanding employees for their volunteer service. Current Champions represent collectively have more than one million employees. Each Champion has as internal selection committee that seeks nominations, and selects up to 12 recipients per year. The selected employees are presented with a Jefferson Award in recognition of their service.

Janie Lopez, Highmark

Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo, Pace University


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