ABINGDON, Va. — A recent Abingdon High School graduate received the Congressional Gold Medal Award on Friday, becoming the second member of his family to do so.
Isaac Beasey, 18, of Bristol, was presented the award by U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, during a ceremony at Griffith’s Abingdon office. Beasey is one of 14 teens from Virginia and 538 nationwide to receive the award this year for completing more than 800 hours of public and personal service. His older brother, Luke, received the same award in 2016.
The Congressional Award was established in 1979 to recognize initiative, service and achievement in young people, beginning as a bipartisan effort in both the U.S. Senate and the House.
“It’s great. It was a lot of work, but I’m really glad that it paid off,” Beasey said. “I did a lot of work at the local food bank, I did a lot of work with the Boy Scouts, I went on a mission trip with my community to El Salvador, and now I work as an EMT [emergency medical technician] for the Bristol Life Saving Crew.”
Achieving the gold medal requires 800 hours of service, and Beasey estimates he had close to 1,000 hours. It requires voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and four consecutive nights of exploration.
Beasey learned much from his older brother.
“It was a huge inspiration. It showed this was a tangible award and that it was possible to do,” he said. “He told me to start early and make sure I’m pacing myself because this is not something you can complete in a month or a year; it’s multiple years.”
His mother and two younger siblings also attended the ceremony.
“It follows the values we really want to instill in our children that they should serve the communities they’re a part of,” said his mother, Kristeen Beasey. “There’s plenty of competition between the two brothers, so the one getting it really did encourage the second brother to go ahead and meet the goals as well.”
Griffith said he’s only presented the award a few times.
“It’s a great award. I wish more people knew about it and would get involved,” Griffith said. “When you look at all the hours they put in and traveled elsewhere to experience something. It’s a great program, and I would encourage others to do it.”