Justin Thran named Nevada Jefferson Award winner
Justin Thran will be traveling to the nation’s capitol in a few months as Nevada’s representative in the national Jefferson Awards.
The 15-year-old Smith Valley teen philanthropist, who was honored March 12 as one of five Nevada Jefferson Award winners, was recently chosen to represent the state at the national ceremonies in Washington, D.C. in June.
Justin was selected by a panel of judges from the National Institute of Public Service, the parent organization of the Jefferson Awards, which is based in Washington, D.C. He will be among more than 40 other nominees from around the country eligible for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Public Service, according to Cecilia Adams, promotion manager for KTVN-TV, one of the local sponsors of awards.
“We sent all of our local winners’ nomination forms to the national office. Their panel of judges are the ones who judged all the local area winners using their criteria – which is our criteria – people who do public service which goes largely without recognition in a community,” Adams said.
Of the 40 nominees, five will receive the final award, which includes a medal from the Franklin mint and $1,000.
In 1997, Pat Zimmerman, a volunteer from Reno who teachers others how to teach English as a second language, represented the area and went on to win this award.
In the past five years, Justin has raised more than $20,000 for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and other non-profit organizations from the sale of his custom bird houses and feeders.
“The really cool thing is that I think the date of the award ceremony in Washington, D.C. is going to be Justin’s 16th birthday,” Adams said.