Utah teen presented with Red Cross leadership award in Washington, D.C.

L-R: Gayle McGovern, Red Cross President/CEO; Whitney Sutton, Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership recipient; Cliff Holtz, Red Cross President of Humanitarian Services, American Red Cross National Headquarters,Washington, D.C., March 9, 2016| Photo courtesy of Dennis Drenner, American Red Cross, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The American Red Cross honored 56 of its best and brightest at the 2016 National Awards and Recognition Dinner at the Board of Governors Hall in Washington, D.C., on March 9. One of those honored was Whitney Sutton from Salt Lake City, who was presented with the Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership.

Whitney Sutton awarded the Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership. American Red Cross National Headquarters.Washington, D.C., Mar. 9, 2016| Photo courtesy of Dennis Drenner, American Red Cross, St. George News
Whitney Sutton awarded the Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership, American Red Cross National Headquarters, Washington, D.C., March 9, 2016| Photo courtesy of Dennis Drenner, American Red Cross, St. George News

“These awards allow us to recognize and showcase the very best of our outstanding volunteers and paid staff who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to make a difference in communities all over our country,”  Utah Regional Volunteer Services Officer Kristy Denlein said.

The Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership is given in honor of Navin Narayan, a young man who started volunteering with the Red Cross when he was only 14. Although he started with the modest task of cleaning CPR mannequins, he went on to do much more for the Red Cross, including serving as the youngest chair for the Red Cross National Youth Council. As a junior in high school, Narayan was diagnosed with cancer, to which he ultimately succumbed at the age of 23.

The American Red Cross National Recognition Program provides an opportunity for the organization to express deep appreciation for the outstanding contributions of all “Red Crossers:” employees and volunteers alike. The event recognized the achievements of those whose commitment and passion make it possible for the Red Cross to fulfill its lifesaving mission every day.

In order to qualify for an award, a recipient must meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate a strong track record of leading and inspiring fellow Red Cross volunteers
  • Create a positive impact on the community
  • Exemplify dedication to the Red Cross mission

The goal of the National Recognition Program is to create positive work environments, improve staff morale, and recognize and motivate high performance.  The program aligns its awards with the organization’s priorities and encourages nominations of exemplary performance from all parts of the organization.

“Whitney certainly meets that criteria,” Denlein said, “and we are honored to have her represent our exceptional youth volunteer program in Utah.”

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