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Heather Weller honored for her volunter service

Heather Weller, with her Minnesota Certificate of Excellence from the 2013 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Submitted photo

Heather Weller, daughter of Dean and Kristi Weller of New York Mills, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a state-level Certificate of Excellence from the 2013 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.

Weller was nominated for the award by the East Otter Tail County 4-H Youth Development Organization, where she is a member of the Countryside Corners 4-H Club.

Presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honor young people across America for outstanding community service activities.

Weller earned her award for her countless hours of service to the 4-H program as a Junior Leader. She serves in various leadership roles as a County 4-H Ambassador and committee member, camp counselor, and teen leader for the 4-H after-school program in New York Mills. She is the creator of the “Thank A Veteran” project, for which she has encouraged school-age children, teens and adults within the community, county and across the state to send a message of thanks to a veteran through a personal note or facebook; 25,000 messages have been sent thus far.

Weller also works with the New York Mills Ladies Auxiliary, volunteering at the Fergus Falls Veterans Home assembling care packages and playing Bingo with the residents. She is very giving of her time and talents to Project New Hope, Quilts of Valor, and the Veteran’s History project, for which she records interviews for the Library of Congress.

Janet Malone, East Otter Tail County 4-H Program Coordinator, refers to a Marian Wright Edelman quote when thinking about Weller: “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”

“This quote describes Heather Weller as a volunteer,” said Malone. “She is an amazing young person, role model and volunteer that will offer to serve in any capacity (big or small) where she sees a need. ‘Using her hands for larger service’ is an understatement.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, now in its 18th year, also recognizes the top middle level and high school volunteer in each state and the District of Columbia, and will name America’s top 10 youth volunteers in May. More than 370,000 young people have been considered for these awards since the program’s inception in 1995, making it the nation’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer service.

“The recipients of these awards vividly demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial.

He added, “In recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer service activities, we hope to encourage others to consider how they can also contribute to their community through volunteerism.”