Cadet Capt. Zechariah Vinson holds his Gold Congressional Award after receiving it from U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, who holds his silver award.
1st Lt. Carol Vinson,
Public Affairs Officer
176th Selfridge Composite Squadron
MICHIGAN -- Cadet Capt. Zechariah Vinson of the 176h Selfridge Composite Squadron recently received the Silver and Gold Congressional Awards from U.S. Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan.
Vinson, one of three students in Michigan who earned their gold medals last year, was unable to attend the 2011 Gold Medal Award Ceremony in June in Washington, D.C., so Miller held a local ceremony at her office in Shelby Township office.
The U.S. Congress established the award in 1979 “to recognize initiative, service and achievement in young people.” Anyone between the ages of 13 1/2 and 23 may register for and earn the award, for which six levels exist -- Bronze, Silver and Gold Certificates and Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals.
In working toward the medals, Vinson set goals in personal development, physical fitness, volunteer service and expedition/exploration within his squadron and then worked to achieve them.
Achieving the Silver Medal requires completion of 200 hours of voluntary public service; for the Gold Medal, that threshold is 400 hours. As a member of the busy Selfridge squadron, Vinson was able to participate in many volunteer activities, and he also volunteered weekly at a local food pantry, Samaritanʼs House.
He set a goal of achieving the rank of cadet captain for his personal development goal, which he fulfilled in November 2010. The
Civil Air Patrol’s fitness program lined up well with the fitness goals for the Congressional Awards. In addition, Vinson’s wilderness search and rescue experiences fit perfectly with the awards program’s expedition/exploration requirements.
Lt. Col. Michael Fultz, squadron commander, was Vinson’s adviser for the award and also was present at the presentation
“I learned that if I make goals, I can achieve them,” Vinson said, “and how important it is to serve others.”