Justin Thran to get Jefferson Award
The ever-growing fan club of Smith Valley teen philanthropist, Justin Thran had a chance to see him last week as he was featured on two KTVN Channel 2 newscasts in conjunction with his selection as one of five Jefferson Award recipients for Nevada.
Justin, the 15-year-old son of Bob Thran, said he feels strange about all the attention being cast his way these days.
This month’s Reader’s Digest features him as one of five “Heroes for Today,” in an article condensed from The Record-Courier, written last year.
Since the article came out, Justin has been contacted by people all over the country, he said.
A call from a woman in Mobile, Ala., wanting to help Justin’s efforts found its way to The R-C following the publication of Reader’s Digest, which circulates 25 million issues in 19 different languages – and a letter from a man in Cincinnati, Ohio arrived last week, asking for more information on how to help.
In addition, others have contacted Justin at home. One man from “back East somewhere” called and said he’d like to contribute staples and nails to Justin’s bird house industry, and proceeded to ask for his freight address.
“I guess he’s going to send a lot of nails and staples,” Justin said. “People usually want a UPS address, but this guy wanted our freight address.”
n About the awards. The Jefferson Awards were founded in 1972 by the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Honorable Robert Taft, Jr. to honor the highest ideals and achievements in public service in the United States.
The Jefferson Awards honor the unique dedication, sacrifices and accomplishments of individuals serving the American people whose acts largely have gone unrecognized, and strives to attract new leadership into public service.
Justin will be honored with the other four Jefferson Award winners at a luncheon Friday. Among the other winners this year are Wanda Smartt, who volunteers within Reno’s legal system to aid those without adequate funds and education; Nicole Bishop, a Reed High School senior who volunteers to bring anti-drug and anti-alcohol information to her peers; Ray McCutcheon, volunteer supervisor with the Lyon County Animal Shelter; and Mary Hansen, a Sun Valley volunteer who serves on many boards and organizations in that community.
Justin is the youngest Jefferson Award recipient this year, but not the youngest ever, said Cecilia Adams promotion manager for KTVN.
Last year, a Nevada recipient, Pat Zimmerman, who volunteers with the English as a Second Language program, won the national Jefferson Award.
Anyone wishing to contact Justin can email him at: email@example.com or call (775) 465-2040.