Farrell senior Sean Egan named one of America’s Top 10 youth volunteers of 2014

By Diane C. Lore Staten Island Advance

Monsignor Farrell High School senior Sean Egan has been named one of the Top 10 high school volunteers in the country. He was honored for his leadership in Hearing Our Heroes, a group that works with veterans.

Monsignor Farrell High School senior Sean Egan has been named one of the Top 10 high school volunteers in the country. He was honored for his leadership in Hearing Our Heroes, a group that works with veterans.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Monsignor Farrell High School senior Sean Egan, 18, has been named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers of 2014 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Egan was honored during the program’s 19th annual national award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Monday.

Selected from a field of more than 30,000 youth volunteers from across the country, Egan earned the title of National Honoree, along with a personal award of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for his school, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for Hearing Our Heroes, a nonprofit he leads that works with Staten Island veterans.

Egan was named as New York State’s top youth volunteer in February, making him eligible for the national award.

The Farrell senior helped found an organization of more than 300 students who assist and thank veterans of the U.S. armed forces by sponsoring events, providing goods and services, and visiting military hospitals.

After Egan’s father, a firefighter [Captain Martin J. Egan, Jr.], died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, he realized, he said, that “the nation had enemies and that service members were called upon to stop them.”

“They are the one group most responsible for protecting our way of life, and they deserve our thanks,” he said.

Two years ago, Egan organized a holiday visit with some fellow high school students to the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Brooklyn. When he saw how much the wounded warriors there appreciated their company, he formed a group called “Hearing Our Heroes” at his school to support and celebrate veterans.

Since then, the organization has grown to include more than 300 students at six schools. They have provided hundreds of books and games for the recreation room at the Brooklyn hospital and donated basic necessities to veterans who leave the hospital homeless. They also bring supplies and gifts to amputee veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. every few months.

The group has worked on hundreds of events for service members including lunches, barbecues, parades and sporting events for wounded veterans.

After Hurricane Sandy, Hearing Our Heroes helped veterans salvage their properties and rebuild their homes. Last summer, it raised money to send a military family to Disney World. “Hearing Our Heroes” members also do yard work for local vets, and assist with the upkeep at veterans’ cemeteries and monuments.

They also were invited twice by former President George W. Bush to join him in Texas for his annual Wounded Warrior golf tournament.

“It is our duty to ensure that those who have served our nation and defended our precious freedom receive the appreciation and recognition they deserve,” Egan said.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is a national youth recognition program sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

“These honorees are shining examples of what is possible when young people use their energy and initiative to help their communities,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “We are proud to recognize their accomplishments, and look forward to seeing the great things they achieve in the future.”

“Through their service, these students have not only made a difference in the lives of others – they’ve provided their peers with a powerful example of what it looks like to be an outstanding youth volunteer,” said Barbara-Jane (BJ) Paris, president of NASSP. “Congratulations to the 2014 honorees for a job well done.”

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