Annual picnic honors exemplary citizens
FORT MYERS - Just before a Lee County helicopter hovered overhead, four Students of the Year were recognized for their swift action...
"For saving an elderly person in a house fire," said Debra Chaney, a ninth-grader at Sonshine Christian Academy.
And standing up for the defenseless even when you're the only one...
"When I walked in, I just said, stop laughing at him!" said Drew Taylor, a second-grader at Tanglewood Elementary School, who stood up to bullies picking on a kindergartner in the boy's bathroom. "Only with my words," he added.
The honorary kids were chosen for their courage and dedication to service at the Do the Right Thing picnic at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers.
"Don't worry about trying to be somebody else," said Mike Scott, the Lee County Sheriff, as he offered advice to the next generation. "Somebody else is already taken. You're yourself."
Each area agency, including the Fort Myers and Cape Coral police departments and the Lee and Collier County Sheriff's office, selected a Student of the Year.
"It's a win-win for everybody and that's why," added Scott. "It's really important to communicate to the public what's going on here. There are good things happening and it's not all negative."
Because good deeds are rarely forgotten. Even inspirational.
"When you see the kids following up and doing what they can do, it's encouraging and it gives you a lot of faith and a lot of reason to go to work," said Michael Flanders, Fort Myers city councilman for the downtown area.
And for these model citizens, their medals are a reminder of a year they'll never forget and hopefully continue to build upon.
"It's amazing to know that i could help the community in some way," said Marco Amen, a ninth-grader at Barron Collier High, who helped a student harassed by bullies on the school bus.
"You can make a difference in your community and it can touch so many people's lives," said Ashley Gosling, a senior at Ida Baker High, who saved a two-year-old found in a swimming pool.
The Students of Year received several prizes, including $1,000 toward their future education, a Walmart gift card and a coupon for The Ice Cream Club.
GABRIELLE SARANN - firstname.lastname@example.org