US Rep Gus Bilirakis presents Tanner Smith with Congressional Award Bronze Medal

The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans. It is the highest honor the U.S. Congress can bestow upon our nation’s youth. Medalists complete personal goals in four areas; voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration.

Tanner Smith, a River Ridge High School Senior and member of the City of New Port Richey Parks and Recreation Youth Advisory Board, earned his Bronze Medal volunteer hours with the youth advisory board, participating in Toys for Tots, Family Movie Nights in Sims Park, and the Cotee River Cleanup. The voluntary Public Service minimum requirement is 100 hours, Tanner logged 141 volunteer hours in 7 months.

His Personal Development Goals included improving his leadership and communication skills through career development programs.  Tanner completed 103 hours, 53 more than the minimum requirement.  The Cardboard Campout which raised awareness of the hardships of homelessness and collecting canned food donations for a local food bank were Tanner’s two focus areas in expedition/exploration.  In the physical fitness category, Tanner completed 4 times the mandatory hours, playing offensive and defensive line as a starter for River Ridge High School.

Tanner completed all Bronze Medal requirements within seven months and said he “learned that hard work pays off and that involvement in my community is important.” He also learned “leadership skills, how to dress, (and) interviewing skills; all things that will help me as I grow.”

Attending the Award Ceremony in Representative Gus Bilirakis’s New Port Richey office were (from left to right in photograph) Debbie L. Manns New Port Richey City Manager, Tanner Smith Bronze Medalist, Mike Smith, Elaine Smith, Gus Bilirakis.

The Congressional Award, America’s Award For Youth, has 48,000 participants nationally, with over 7.5 million hours of service logged thorough the program.

The awards are earned, never given with participants setting personally challenging goals in four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration.

Each applicant has an advisor and validators, experienced in the program areas who monitor progress every step of the way toward medals.