Students recognized as young heroes

August 21, 2008 It was the 8th Annual Commerce Bank Young Heroes Ceremony at the National Liberty Museum. More than 50 young people were recognized for their leadership, contributions to their communities, and in some cases... the world.

It was a heart wrenching story from the Young Heroes Awards' keynote speaker, Michael Kuch, a former "lost boy of Sudan" who was separated from his mother and siblings when civil war broke out in his country. His nightmare ended only recently, with the help of today's first honoree, Joshua Millan, he encouraged his peers to help him start a fundraiser and located Michael's family in Australia.

Millan tells us, "I thought about it and thought if I was in his position and was a refugee and didn't have my mom. I decided to do something for him."

A unique group of boys from the Green Tree School started their own soup business, donating the proceeds to the homeless and needy. They're especially impressive because they are autistic and special needs children.

Monica Montgomery from the Green Tree School says, "Every semester we do a theme to teach them about the world around them... social skills and vocational skills. So, last semester the theme was empathy."

With Action News anchor Tamala Edwards as emcee the honors continued.

Gwen Montemuro, one of the youngest "heroes" asks her friends to donate to her charities, instead of giving her birthday gifts. Twin brothers, Nick and Sean Kilkenny, won't accept Christmas gifts from their parents, giving the money to Children's Hospital instead. And Ellis Nation finds time to help others while battling lupus.

Today's top award went to Larrissa Luu who founded a student organization to build a school in Cambodia that will open next month.

Not only are these teenagers and children making a difference, but they are encouraging others to do so as well.

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