Editorial: We already knew Shaun was a heroNow it’s been made official. A nationwide competition with some 1,200 contestants last week concluded and 18-year Shaun Stokes, 2011 graduating class of River Fall High School, is one of 10 teenage volunteers to be named a “Hometown Huggable Hero.”
Now it’s been made official. A nationwide competition with some 1,200 contestants last week concluded and 18-year Shaun Stokes, 2011 graduating class of River Fall High School, is one of 10 teenage volunteers to be named a “Hometown Huggable Hero.”
The Journal profiled Shaun on its front-page April 28 when he was semi-finalist in a contest that highlights youngsters from across the country who do deeds that are making a quality-of-life difference in their communities. The contest is sponsored by the retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Three years ago, at age 15, Shaun became one of the key organizers of Grow to Share. The local group grows vegetables in a community garden and donates produce to food pantries, and to homeless and women’s shelters like Our Neighbors’ Place and Turningpoint.
Shaun was a pivotal force when Grow to Share was launched. According to other Grow to Share members, he’s been a devoted, hard-working contributor since.
In the Journal’s April story, Shaun said this about his volunteering at Grow to Share: “It will always be a part of me. I know how good it feels to help others, and I realize how easy it is to make a difference.
“Doing community service will always be something of interest and part of what I am. I plan to be back every summer throughout college to assist with weeding and whatever they need help with in the garden.”
With his designation as Hometown Huggable Hero, Shaun earns a $7,500 scholarship (he’ll be attending UW-Stout) and $2,500 to give to the charity of his choice. He will also travel to St. Louis July 20-22 to be honored with the nine other youthful Hometown Heroes.
Collectively, these 10 local heroes have donated 10 tons of fresh product to shelters; built 18 homes across the United States, 31 wells in rural India, and eight soccer fields and four libraries in Africa; founded and cofounded organizations to improve education in the U.S. and developing countries; provided comfort items, gifts and money to support kids with chronic illness and cancer; increased epilepsy awareness by establishing an international day of recognition (Purple Day); coached and tutored cancer patients; and recruited volunteers to assist them with many of these efforts.
So our Shaun is deservedly in elite company. He represents River Falls at the highest level of service on the national stage.
More important is the example of selfless giving and compassion that Shaun sets for his teenage peers to follow. He deserves our congratulations and thanks from the community.
The Journal’s online poll question this week asked: Do you agree or disagree with the new state law passed recently that requires citizens to show a voter ID before casting their ballot?
As of Tuesday afternoon, early results showed: Agree, it restores much-needed credibility to the electoral process, 61%; Disagree, it’s a political ploy to stymie groups likely to vote for Democrat party candidates, 39%.
To vote, go to www.riverfallsjournal.com. A new poll question appears each Friday.