We would like to recognize those staff who not only spend their summers in public service, but choose to dedicate their time throughout the rest of the year. Throughout the fall/winter/spring we will highlight a few of these model staff and during the staff banquet we will honor one staff member with the Manito-wish Service Award.
We will accept nominations from any staff, friends or family that feel they know a present or former staff member that chooses to dedicate their life to public service. Email or Call Drew, Jay, Mark or Brandt with nominations
The first nominee is former Counselor, Sectional and Voyageur Leader, Justin Halls.
Upon graduating from college, Justin applied for a position with Teach For America in New Orleans. The first day of his 4th week was the day that Hurricane Katrina hit the area. In the immediate aftermath he helped found a KIPP charter school for students living in the Astrodome and relocating to Houston. After this program got off the ground, he took a position with Ameri-corp where he was assigned a position working with FEMA at a Disaster Recovery Center in New Orleans.
The next year after a mountaineering trip in Chile, Justin followed in fellow Manito-wisher Jessie Blom's steps and spent 10 weeks in the Patagonia region working with Conservacion Patagonica. This organization is dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildland ecosystems and biodiversity in Patagonia. They are in the process of establishing national parks in Chile and Argentina. He spent five weeks restoring land by taking out fences and helping to close down the ranch. He spent the other five weeks doing surveys of the lakes and streams to inventory the natural resources of the area.
Upon returning to the states, he returned to Teach For America in New Orleans to fulfill his original commitment. Justin is making a difference in the world.
Photos are courtesy of Patagonia. The second photo can be found in the recent Patagonia Catalog