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Washington, DC - Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch handed out fifteen Congressional Award Gold Medals to young people from Idaho at a ceremony on Capitol Hill. Each recipient spent two years or more completing at least 400 hours of community service, 200 hours of both personal development and physical fitness activities, and a four-night Expedition or Exploration.

"The Congressional Award is a great program that encourages young people to set challenging goals and then work to meet those goals. The young people who received a gold medal demonstrated a significant commitment to achieve very lofty goals. I commend each and every one of them for their perseverance and effort in earning this highest honor of the program," said Risch.

"Idaho has led the nation in participation and progress in the Congressional Awards program," Crapo said. "When you break that down into community service and growth experiences, Idaho's youth have set a fine example. They are a leading part of an effort that has provided more than 750,000 hours of voluntary community service to hospitals, schools, food drives, senior citizen homes, museums and public service organizations. These volunteer efforts are to be commended."

Those earning The Congressional Award Gold Medal for 2009:

Katelyn Benton, Nampa; Jonathan Bertsch, Boise; Kyle Felzien, Meridian; Jacob Levi, Nampa; Daniel Revard, Emmett; Shelby Roth, Kooskia; Kathryn Vincent, Eagle; Lyndsey Vincent, Eagle; Megan Breeding, Kimberly; Hosana Kabakoro, Twin Falls; Mary Jordan Langfied, Boise; Elizabeth Middleton, Twin Falls; Justin Novacek, Kimberly; Ryan Seastrom, Twin Falls; Rebecka Seward, Boise.

The program is open to 14 to 23 year-olds and is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. It is not an award for past accomplishments. Participants can earn Bronze, Silver or Gold awards depending upon their level of goal setting in four program areas; Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

Congress established The Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize initiative, achievement and service in young people.