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Elgin student wins volunteer award

ELGIN  Charles Carter's selfless nature was recognized on a national level recently.

The Elgin Middle School student has been honored with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award  one of only two given out across the state. He was notified in February of his win after teacher Melissa Evon nominated him for the award, which included a trip to Washington, D.C., to join his fellow winners. 

"I was astounded that I would win," Carter said. "I never thought it was possible."

Carter is a familiar face around the Elgin community. He's served as president of the school's student council and has been a prominent volunteer with the Winter Wishes program. He also spent much of his time volunteering in more "mundane" ways, such as raising money and food for the local food bank and winter clothes for those in need. If someone is in need, Carter will do what he can to help them or help raise awareness for additional help. It's that spirit that earned him the award. 

"I just want to help people as I can," he said. "I do it sometimes because I get bored and want to go out with friends and do what I can to help out the community."

Carter has visited the nation's capitol in the past  as recently as President Donald Trump's inauguration last year. But this trip was a little different. In addition to being all expenses paid, he was able to see some of the sights that were blocked off or under repair previously. He had a chance to finally visit the Lincoln Memorial, which was in repair during the inauguration period. But the trip wasn't all fun and games. He also met with fellow award winners and worked on community exercises.

"It was an interesting trip," he said. "When we got off at the airport, there was a bunch of people from different states that we got to meet and I had to do interviews."

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