2013 Capitol Award Ceremony


Joel Holtrop, Chair,The Corps Network Board of Directors, and Harry Bruell, President & CEO, Southwest Conservation Corps, greet The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

The 2013 National Conference came to a close on Wednesday, February 13th with our annual Capitol Hill Award Ceremony in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building. The event recognized our six 2013 Corpsmembers of the Year, three 2013 Projects of the Year, and the recipients of our Federal and Congressional Champion Awards.

Our Corpsmembers of the Year are young men and women who have stood out as leaders and mentors in the Corps movement. Some of this year’s winners had their Representatives in Congress in attendance at the Award Ceremony to offer their support. The 2013 Corpsmembers of the Year are Luis Gaeta, EOC Fresno Local Conservation Corps; Alex Hreha, Coconino Rural Environment Corps; Sarah Huff, California Conservation Corps; Brandon Penny, Civicorps; Raghda Raphael, Urban Corps of San Diego; and Jesse Roehm, Mile High Youth Corps.

Our Project of the Year recipients represent some of the most innovative programs at Corps throughout the country. The ceremony recognized EOC Fresno Local Conservation Corps for their responsible parenting program, POPS (Proving Our Parenting Skills); Civic Works of Baltimore, Maryland for the urban agricultural projects of their Real Food Farm; and Los Angeles Conservation Corps for their Flying Weed Warriors program, which involved the use if cutting-edge herbicide dispersal technology.

The award ceremony also recognized the recipients of the Congressional Champion Award. This Award goes to elected officials whose work promotes and encourages the growth and sustainability of America’s youth service and conservation corps. A number of awardees attended the award ceremony to offer words of support for the efforts of service and conservation corps. This year’s Congressional Champions are Senator Barbara Boxer, California; Senator Mark Begich, Alaska; Senator Christopher Coons, Delaware; Representative Ruben Hinojosa, Texas’s 15th District; Representative Raul Grijalva, Arizona’s 3rd District; Representative John Tierney, Massachusetts’s 6th District; and Representative Nick Rahall, West Virginia’s 3rd District.

Secretary Ken Salazar, a recipient of The Corps Network's 2013 Federal Champion Award, speeks at The Corps Network's annual award ceremony on Capitol Hill. 


Finally, the ceremony celebrated our three Federal Champions. This Federal Champion Award is given to policymakers and public officials whose work encourages the growth and sustainability of youth conservation corps. The three winners – Secretary Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior; Chair Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Secretary Tom Vilsack, Department of Agriculture – have all demonstrated their support for youth corps in numerous ways, and have all provided leadership in the process of creating the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, based on the model of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.

Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to all of the individuals who joined us for the ceremony and made remarks, including Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Harris Sherman, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment  at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.