SUMMIT NJ — A Union resident was among 92 New Jersey youth who were awarded a Congressional Award at the 2018 New Jersey Congressional Award Ceremony, hosted by U.S. Representative Leonard Lance (NJ-07).

The statewide ceremony recognized New Jersey youth with The Congressional Award Bronze, Silver, or Gold Medal. Roger Sweet of Union received a Bronze 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.

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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.

In his keynote address, 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.”

Rich Bagger, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Strategic Market Access at Celgene Corporation, the Title Sponsor of the event,  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.”