SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ --  Union Catholic's Kaitlyn Valendo has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President's Volunteer Service Award. 

Valendo received a certificate and a letter from President Trump for her achievement. 

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. 

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"Across the United States, young volunteers are doing remarkable things to contribute to the well-being of the people and communities around them,'' Prudential CEO Charles Lowrey wrote in a press release. "Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these students, and we hope their stories inspire others to volunteer, too. Young volunteers like yourself are inspiring examples to all of us, and are one of our brightest hopes for a better tomorrow.''

Valendo, a senior who lives in Woodbridge, has volunteered as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) in Clinton Township since last summer, volunteered to help at the Special Olympics, and is a member of UC’s C.R.A.Y.O.N (Community Raising Autism Yielding Opportunity Now) Club.     

Valendo is honored to receive such a prestigious award

“To be recognized with this award really means a lot,’’ said Valendo. “It’s really exciting and a nice surprise. I’ve put in a lot of hours as an EMT, and it’s pretty cool to be nice to be recognized for the things I do.  

Working as a first responder in the emergency medical field runs in Valendo’s family

“My dad, my uncle, and my grandpa were all EMT’s at one point,’’ said Valendo.  “I always wanted to get involved as well, and the easiest way was for me to get CPR certified, First Aid certified, and start riding on an ambulance and gain experience through EMT classes. It’s about being there for someone in their most vulnerable moment. To be there and be compassionate and help out people is such an amazing feeling.         

Here are some excerpts from the letter Valendo received from President Trump:

"On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you for your service to your fellow Americans and those most in need. Over this past year, you have served as a model of the American spirit. Your many hours of service have strengthened the bonds of cooperation and trust that bring people together, while helping to address some of the greatest challenges of our time. Thank you for your enduring commitment to serving your community and our Nation. I trust that you will continue to work for the betterment of others and an even stronger future for the American people.'