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Members of Vineyard Youth Council receive award from White House

By Genelle Pugmire - | Sep 22, 2021

From left, Jessica Welch (advisor), Alexa Dadson, Janelle Dadson, Holland Welch, Harrison Welch, Mayor Julie Fullmer on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (Courtesy Vineyard city)

It’s not every day you get a letter from the President of the United States, nor do you receive an award from that office. On Saturday, four members of the Vineyard Youth Council did.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award was presented Saturday with three receiving the gold award and one silver award. Holland and Harrison Welch received gold along with Alexa Dadson. Janelle Dadson received a silver commendation.

The awards were presented by Youth Council Advisor Jessica Welch and Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer.

“The Vineyard Youth Council is an approved certifying organization to qualify its members who donate unpaid acts of volunteer service benefitting others for this award. The Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are earned based on the number of hours in a 12-month period and age of the recipient. The youth that received the Gold and Silver Awards on Saturday gave over 200 hours of service to the community this past year,” according to Kathryn Newman, the city spokesperson.

Most of the volunteer hours were given while creating the Vineyard Children’s Library which is now open.

Courtesy Vineyard city

As a fundraiser for the Vineyard Children's Library, twin siblings Holland and Harrison Welch wrote a children's book entitled V is for Vineyard. The book celebrates the history and beauty of Vineyard with text and photos in an A to Z format, shown on May 1, 2021. (Courtesy Vineyard city)

The letter written to the award recipients reads, “By sharing your time and passion, you are helping discover and deliver solutions to the challenges we face — solutions that we need now more than ever. On behalf of the American people, I extend my heartfelt appreciations to you for your volunteer leadership and I encourage you to continue to answer the call to serve. The Country is counting on you.”

The letter was also signed by President Joe Biden.

“While the youth can enjoy the tangible rewards of their efforts by seeing the children and families enjoy the new Vineyard Children’s Library, and other impactful projects they have completed, this award honors them in a way that helps them understand how remarkable their efforts were this past year,” said Welch.

“I have been so impressed by our Youth Council,” Fullmer said. “Recently, we have had several opportunities in the city to make a tangible impact in the community with a Children’s Library, a prominent Women’s run toward leadership event, placement of the first NarcX disposal unit of its kind in Utah County, and capturing the stories of Vineyard’s Heritage.”

Fullmer noted that she along with Welch, were able to recognize the four youth council members with the U.S. Presidential gold volunteer service award for helping the city carry out these initiatives.

Natalie Behring, Special for the Daily Herald

Then-Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox talks with kids as he visits a service project Friday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Vineyard. The project aims to create a library with donated books, as well as a cafe for the community. (Natalie Behring, Special to the Daily Herald)

“The award talks about the power behind service and leadership. It was indeed an honor to present these awards in gratitude for the love and kindness they have dedicated to this community,” Fullmer said.

In addition to the more than 250 volunteer hours, the Youth Council have contributed in the following ways:

  • Spoken to groups inspiring them to run for government office.
  • Contributed to raising literacy rates by creating community spaces for reading and opening massive databases as tools to the residents of Vineyard.
  • Created answers for the national opioid crisis, meeting with members of Congress, state leaders, city officials and business owners to bring in a NarcX unit — the first opioid disposal unit in Utah County.
  • Written and published a book about the heritage of Vineyard.
  • One member is also on the Attorney General’s Youth Advisory Committee, to talk about safety, mental health, public health and crimes against children.
  • Working and developing ways to create healthy environments in the community garden.
  • Initiated a bee and butterfly restorative effort.

“Vineyard is small and growing. It takes people willing to dedicate their time to build a community,” Fullmer said. “It takes leadership skills and sacrifices to step outside one’s self for the betterment of a city. This powerhouse of young aspiring executives has given so much to Vineyard. On behalf of the people of Vineyard, the city council, and myself, I extend gratitude for their service.”

Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer puts books on shelves at a service project Friday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Vineyard. The project aims to create a library with donated books, as well as a cafe for the community. (Natalie Behring for the Daily Herald)

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