Summit, NJ — On Saturday, September 8, 2018, U.S. Representative Leonard Lance (NJ-07) hosted the 2018 New Jersey Congressional Award Ceremony.
The statewide ceremony recognized 92 New Jersey youth with The Congressional Award Bronze, Silver, or Gold Medal. Each awardee set and achieved goals in four program areas – Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. Collectively, this year’s group contributed 25,770 volunteer hours to their local communities.
In his keynote address, Congressman Lance described the importance of the accomplishment.
“The Congressional Award highlights the incredible volunteerism and community spirit of many young Americans from all walks of life and from each corner of the United States. Our New Jersey students did a tremendous job and our medalists have bettered their neighborhoods, helped those in need, and inspired friends and family to take up public service. I commend all participants and their advisors for their good work. Congratulations to the 2018 Congressional Award recipients.”
Celgene served as the Title Sponsor as well as the host venue, welcoming award recipients and guests to their headquarters in Summit, New Jersey. The global biopharmaceutical company has become a perennial partner of Congress’ award program for youth, supporting the development of the program both locally and nationally.
Rich Bagger, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Strategic Market Access at Celgene Corporation, provided congratulatory remarks at the event.
“Celgene is proud to support The Congressional Award program, and proud to see so many young adults from New Jersey receive their Congressional Awards. We are inspired by the dedication to community service, the investment in self-improvement, and the commitment to helping others that was displayed by the award winners. This program traces its roots to our home state of New Jersey, and Celgene looks forward to continuing our partnership to grow and expand this great program for youth across our state,” said Bagger.
The ceremony also lent the talents of News 12 New Jersey political reporter Katie Kyros as master of ceremonies and Reverend Gary Holden, CEO of The Police Chaplain Program.
Celgene’s Director of Federal Government Relations and Congressional Award Board Member, Patrick Gliha, was on hand to help also present Congressional Award STEM Stars to participants who pursued activities in science, technology, engineering, and math.
“At Celgene, our purpose and our mission is to change the course of human health through bold pursuits in science. Though we’ve made tremendous strides in the treatment of many diseases, we know that there is still much work to be done. As we look to the future, it is important that we continue to develop the next generation of biologists, chemists, engineers, pharmacists, nurses, and more. It is these jobs that will fill the labs of tomorrow and benefit not just our workforce at Celgene but nationwide. That is why we support The Congressional Award STEM Stars Initiative, to continue to see a passion for STEM in our youth, who will go on to pursue careers in science and math,” stated Gliha.
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.
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