Michael Ross and Jose Contreras received President’s Volunteer Service Awards at a recent Boy Scouts of America conference. Anne MacDonald, Associate Director of USA Freedom Corps. presented the awards.
An Eagle Scout who volunteered to return as a Troop Leader in 2000, Ross was placed in the North Oak Cliff area of Dallas, a neighborhood that had been hurting for volunteer leaders for some time. Since volunteering for duty, he has been the founding Scoutmaster of Troop 2012 at the J. Erik Jonsson Community School and has been actively serving in building the District-level activities as well as the regional Camporee program, while participating in the World Jamboree.
An achievement that Ross holds even closer to the heart is the relationship that he’s developed with Troop 2012’s first Eagle Scout, Jose Contreras. Contreras, of course a volunteer in his own right, has overcome significant obstacles to receive his Eagle. While working after school as well as helping to care for a younger sibling, he still found the time to earn his Eagle by organizing a blood drive for Carter Blood Center, working on Hurricane Katrina relief projects through World Vision, and participated in many otherservice projects. At one point when difficulties in maintaining his grueling schedule became overwhelming, Contreras was tempted to give up. Ross intervened. By providing encouragement in his home and assisting his family in locating resources that enabled Contreras to persevere, Ross’ caring influence and Contreras’ tremendous courage will culminate in Contreras graduating from high school in December.
“The BSA is proud of our many leaders and members who continue to give of themselves,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive. “A Scout is taught to provide a good turn daily, which are often small, thoughtful acts, and are usually provided without any recognition.” Ross continues to make a difference in the lives of young men, in a place where leaders are hard to find. Contreras continues to provide leadership to the other young men in his troop.
President Bush has called on all Americans to volunteer two years or 4,000 hours over the course of their lifetimes, and he created USA Freedom Corps to help foster a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility. Since March 2002, awards have been presented to more than 600,000 individuals around the country, like Ross and Contreras, who are answering the call to volunteer service. More information about the award is available at www.presidentialserviceawards.gov.
Serving over 4.6 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on the BSA, please visit www.scouting.org.