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2020 Young Heroes

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2020 Louisiana Young Hero Anthony Chiasson

Anthony Chiasson

Anthony Chiasson’s life was saved through the miracle of donation when he received a liver transplant as a baby from his father’s organ donation. While Anthony will continue to face medical challenges, he puts in 100% effort every day, and works to raise awareness through Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency events about the gift that is organ, tissue and eye donation. During the holidays, Anthony prepares food baskets for the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church. His Eagle Scout project included building a 'care cart' for Our Lady of the Lake's Pediatric Department. He placed Summa Cum Laude on National Latin Exam, and is recognized as an academic achiever of High Honors at CHS. He even ran the LA Half Marathon as a personal goal. And, in what is a scary time for immunocompromised patients, Anthony is leading the way by his behavior: steady, calm, strong, hopeful and following recommended safety measures.

2020 Louisiana Young Hero Lillian Dejean

Lillian DeJean

Lillian DeJean has an unspecified autoimmune disease and a mitochondrial disorder. Because of this, Lillian lives her life intentionally, and has found her life’s purpose and her voice in disability advocacy. Lillian received the Lafayette Parish Disability Awareness Committees Outstanding Youth Leadership Award in 2017 and the 2017 Governor’s Outstanding Leadership in Disabilities Youth of the Year award, and, at 15, was the first minor to ever be appointed to serve by any governor as a self-advocate on the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council. She requires the use of a ventilator, feeding, and infusion pumps all of which are carried in multiple bags, but knows that despite the challenges, she has the tools to advocate and educate. Lillian understands that the key to success is collaboration with others who may bring different and equally valuable skills and resources to the table. This perspective is the embodiment of inclusion the disability community is actively working toward.

2020 Louisiana Young Hero Claire Holder

Claire Holder

Claire Holder has been recognized for her leadership through numerous youth, academic, and sports organizations and has well-over 400 documented volunteer hours with a multitude of community organizations including the American Heart Association, Baton Rouge Health Care, Baton Rouge Minority Firefighters, Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Society of St. Vincent DePaul, Southside Assisted Living Facility, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and St. Jude Walk/Run. She received the SJA Community Service Award for completing a minimum 50 service hours annually. Claire was inducted into the Beta Club, serves as a Student Ambassador, and was recognized with academic awards for Outstanding Civics, Fine Arts Survey II, and Theology. As a 2016 Great Flood survivor whose home was destroyed, many at school were unaware until the restoration process was complete because she did not want to be treated differently. Her maturity has garnered her admiration and respect from faculty/ students/church/community/family.

2020 Louisiana Young Hero Caleb Lewis

Caleb Lewis

Caleb Lewis has not only begun to change the world through humanitarian work abroad but also by his determination to persevere after a traumatic brain injury. He was actively involved in humanitarian aid and rescue during the Indonesian Tsunami, and routinely helps with crisis aid through a Christian mission organization founded by his father. Caleb is one of the youngest college soccer referees in the country, and as a natural leader, he coaches younger players to never give up. He has inspired many students with disabilities and hardships, encouraging them to persevere. An Honor Roll student who has earned his private plane pilots license, Caleb has been an active member of many clubs, including Civil Air Patrol, Varsity Soccer, and NCAA Official. The grueling hours to relearn his past but to still have no real connection to the details of his life has been a challenge. But, to have a positive attitude, to struggle with dignity and to remain hopeful has been the true definition of his diligence and determination.

2020 Louisiana Young Hero Riley Marze

Riley Marze

Riley Marze was born with Turner's Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that can cause developmental problems, including short height and heart defects. Riley endures hormone therapy shots six days a week for her bone and physical growth. Though small in stature, she is large in personality and vibrancy. Riley is involved in many school organizations, and enjoys serving at the Senior Citizens' Luncheon, visiting nursing homes and has served on the Mayor's Youth Council. She has sought out students in the high school cafeteria who were sitting alone to ask them to sit with her and her friends. Riley has been a cheerleader, dances, and enjoys acting. She surprised her team of doctors and family most when she joined the Wampus Cat Power Lifting Team and took home third place in the district meet. In 2019, Riley's home burned to the ground. She was thrown from the blazing building by her mother who pushed an air conditioner out of the window. True to form, Riley demonstrated exceptional courage and perseverance in her response to this tragedy.

2020 Louisiana Young Hero Garrett Sanders

Garrett Sanders

Garrett Sanders has always had a desire to give back to his community. He has held food drives, raised money for the CASA program to buy children Christmas gifts, volunteered at his local hospital, organized school supply drives, volunteered with Parish, Regional, State and National 4-H service projects to build community gardens and clean city parks. Throughout Garrett's academic career he has maintained a 4.0 GPA. As a State 4-H Board member for the past 4 years, Garrett has had the opportunity to collaborate with his 4-H peers, 4-H Agents, Department Heads at LSU Ag Center, school officials and individuals in public office. He has been able to obtain thousands in donations for service projects. Garrett's greatest impact was when he built the 2 Blessing Boxes in Hammond. These boxes provide needed items to anyone who may need them. The premise is to "Take what you need and leave what you can." He researched, built and put up the boxes after presenting his idea to the City Counsel.

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