February 2, 2022 – This week, The Congressional Award Foundation held its annual North Carolina Statewide Ceremony, sponsored by Smithfield Foods. Joined by Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08), Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07), and Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12), The Foundation recognized 57 medalists from across the Tar Heel State for taking on the challenge and serving their communities.
Keira Lombardo, Smithfield’s Chief Administrative Officer, kicked off the event with words of praise for the group of young leaders. “Today, we celebrate students who have met their goals while giving back to their communities. On behalf of the Smithfield Foods Family, I congratulate each of you on your incredibly admirable achievements. You have contributed to the betterment of your local communities, the state of North Carolina, and our nation.” Smithfield has sponsored youth development programming via The Congressional Award in the state since 2017. Their support has allowed hundreds of students to meet their Members of Congress, connect with a diverse network of peers, and be recognized for their hard work.
Congressman Hudson (NC-08), co-host of the ceremony, gave remarks to the group and instilled words of wisdom, “Our country is facing some serious challenges right now… but just reading about all of your accomplishments and meeting you helps encourage me and tells me that the future of this country is very bright.” Hudson serves on the Board of The Foundation and continues to be an ardent supporter of the program on both local and national levels. Congresswoman Adams (NC-12) echoed Hudson’s sentiments with inspiring remarks of their own, “I encourage you to treasure this experience; what you’ve learned through your participation in The Congressional Award program forms a solid foundation upon which to build your life’s service. A special congratulations to all of you.”
Upon completing the program, 2022 Gold Medalist Austin Winklespecht of Raleigh, NC said, “I have an increased awareness of the needs in my community and a more focused regimen to achieve my personal and physical goals. Overall, this experience has allowed me to direct my efforts to achieve long-term success.” Learning the value of long term goal-setting is a primary component of the program – the Gold Medal takes a minimum of 2 years for a participant to earn.