Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recognition from the White House for helping the tigers

There are many times that I have been proud of my son. What parent hasn't been proud of their child? Getting a good grade on a test, learning to ride a bike, receiving an award from school, the list can go on forever with the many accomplishments we witness as parents. However, there is a certain kind of feeling you get as a parent, one that is filled with pride and happiness, when you watch your child beam with pride as his peers applaud him. These are the rare moments that bring tears to the eyes of mothers.

Last week my son received The President's Volunteer Service Award. He did not know that he was getting it and when he was called up during a Cub Scout pack meeting I was suddenly overcome with pride.

As you may remember, Dylan had a special birthday wish in July. A wish not for presents or a party, but a wish for the tigers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. His wish was to raise $1,000 and help build them a new home. He surpassed his goal and raised over $1,300.

In doing so, he volunteered much of his time - 50 hours to be exact. Unbeknownst to me, a child of his age that completes 50 hours of community service is eligible to receive a special award from the President of the United States. A good friend of the family completed all the paperwork, sent me the awards last month, and asked that Dylan be honored at a Cub Scout meeting.

Along with the President's Volunteer Service Award, Dylan received a letter from the White House, a letter from Nograf Network, and a lapel pin of the Presidential Seal.

I am still in awe of this. I have never known anyone who received an award from the White House, let alone a family member - and as excited as he is now, I can only imagine the stories he will tell his children and grandchildren one day.

Knowing how much Dylan loves saving animals, I thought it was only right to dedicate an area of our home for him to display his efforts and accomplishments. So after a little reorganizing, this is now known as Dylan's shelf of conservation. Each animal represents one that he has adopted from San Diego Zoo Global and I will be framing pictures of them as well to hang along with his letters.

Sometimes the best rewards are those that you don't expect to get.

Dylan may have inspired many people, some total strangers, with his birthday wish for the tigers, but the 30 young boys who applauded him at his Cub Scout meeting are the ones who he inspired to make a difference of their own. 

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