Photo by David Bagnard
Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Program has selected 18-year-old Garden Valley High
School senior Dylan Bass as Idaho's top youth volunteer. The only high school recipient in Idaho, he has won $1000 and a gold medallion.
With 50 other high school award winners and 51 middle school winners selected from each state and the District of Columbia, Mr. Bass has also won an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. in late April and early May. He has an opportunity to be named one of ten National Honorees and receive $5000 cash, plus $5000 for the charity of his choice.
Prudential recently announced the selection of Idaho's top youth
"Dylan Bass is Garden Valley's coordinator for a program that provides overseas military families with manufacturers' coupons to help stretch their budgets.
"Dylan’s commitment to volunteering started at age 4, when he rode his tricycle a mile to raise funds for a local ambulance service. 'No one thought I’d go very far, so they pledged a bunch of money – they were pretty shocked when they had to pay up!' Dylan said.
"Over the years, he helped in various capacities in his community but it wasn’t until his junior year of high school that Dylan decided to devote his efforts to helping military personnel. 'The meager salary of a junior enlisted soldier is barely sufficient for living, and if they have any dependents, they are considered under the poverty line,' he said. That was when he stumbled onto a website about the Overseas Coupon Program.
"After “adopting” the U.S. Naval and Marine Corp base in Sigonella, Italy, Dylan, with the help of his mother, went to work collecting, printing, clipping, sorting, and shipping coupons. 'At first it was slow going,' Dylan said, but after an article about his efforts appeared in the local paper, volunteers in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon began clipping for his project. It wasn’t long before Dylan’s house was filled with stacks of coupons waiting to be mailed.
"Dylan has far surpassed his goal of a few thousand dollars in
coupons. At last count, he had sent coupons worth $96,000 overseas, to help ease the strain on military budgets. 'I believe that when these monthly bundles of coupons arrive to be spread out on tables at the base commissary, a gift of thanks to our military members goes with it,' said Dylan. "