U.S. Rep. Candice Miller recently presented the Congressional Award – gold and silver medals – to Zechariah “Zack” Vinson of Romeo in honor of his community and personal achievements.
The Congressional Award Foundation is a public-private partnership created by Congress to promote and recognize service, initiative and achievement in America’s youth. Gold medal winners must complete a minimum of 800 hours total across the four program areas of voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration.
In addition, Emilie Vinson was a gold, silver and bronze medal-winner more than four years ago; however she never received the silver medal award through the mail. Miller was able to obtain this medal and presented it to Emilie Vinson in addition to honoring Zach Vinson.
For his Gold Medal Congressional Award, Zach Vinson served weekly at his local food bank, as well as volunteered with Civil Air Patrol serving the community in many ways. His personal development goal was to earn the rank of cadet captain in his CAP squadron, which he succeeded in earning. He was also chosen for the honor of cadet commander, leading his peers. For physical fitness, he has made significant leaps. When he began his work with the Congressional Award, he was below the 25 percent mark in the Presidential Physical Fitness Program. Now, after working toward his gold medal goal, he can achieve 60-75 percent in these categories. His expedition was an eight-day wilderness campout, where he learned about survival and search-and-rescue techniques.
“I learned that if I make goals, I can achieve them,” Zach Vinson said, “and how important it is to serve others.”
Zach Vinson earned a silver medal in the Congressional Award in September 2009. He is very active in the CAP and has received a letter of commendation from Miller for his involvement with the CAP. He earned the silver medal for volunteer service, professional development, physical fitness and expedition.
Emilie Vinson received her gold medal more than four years ago. She did personal development with her horse, and increasing her competence with riding and caring for the horse, among other skills. She volunteered at the local library and with SERVE at the local high school. Her exploration was a mission trip to New Mexico, and she spent a week with the Navaho Indians working on homes and doing construction projects for that area. Her physical fitness goals were tied to her personal pulse rates with working out, and other cardio exercises. She did attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C., and received her gold medal. The bronze medal was mailed to her home before that. She never received her silver medal.