Craig What does it take to meet Miss America Lauren Nelson and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar?
A motivated 17-year-old like Ari Osborn knows.
Salazar gave Osborn, a Craig resident, the prestigious Congressional Award on June 19 in Washington, D.C. Nelson, of Oklahoma, joined Salazar at the ceremony.
The Craig teenager was one 274 people, ranging in age from 14 to 23 years old, to receive the Congressional Award, the only civilian award Congress gives out.
The Congressional Award recognizes achievement, initiative and service by America's youth.
"The whole point of this award is voluntary personal achievement," Osborn said.
The program is designed to motivate young adults through setting and achieving goals in four areas: Personal development, physical fitness, voluntary public service, and expedition or exploration.
Osborn, a home school student taught by his mother, Cathy Osborn, since the fifth grade, earned the award after completing various tasks.
After learning of the Congressional Award through the Christian Liberty Academy School Systems, a then-15-year-old Osborn decided to participate.
All of his achievements were recorded in a journal.
With 1,650 hours of voluntary public service at Craig Veterinary Hospital, 1,023 hours of personal development, 397 hours of physical fitness and four consecutive nights of exploring Colorado's great outdoors, Osborn surpassed qualifications.
Playing the piano, which Osborn has done since he was five, fell under the category of personal development.
For the last two years, Osborn practiced every day for three hours composing and recording his own music for a CD to be completed this fall.
He also volunteers at the vet clinic, working under Dr. Wayne Davis.
Osborn said he loves animals and enjoys bringing them back to health. He has assisted in surgeries such as pinning the femur of a cat, repairing an ACL and treating heart failure in a marmot.
"Working at the Craig Veterinary Hospital is the reason I want to be a vet," Osborn said.
The local youth credits his mentor, Craig resident Laura Tyler, as the driving force behind his accomplishments.
"She is like my mom - a motivator," Osborn said. "She has the ability to push me to do things."
Tyler compiled all of Osborn's journal entries and communicated with the Congressional Award committee about his achievements.
"I have known Ari since he was 8, and his motivation and determination still impresses me," Tyler said. "When he asked me to be his mentor there was no question."
The award has provided Osborn with a notable item for his resume, something to help him pursue future accomplishments. He said his dream is to attend Colorado State University and eventually become a veterinarian.
"The Congressional Award is so elite," Osborn said. "It is such an honor to be able to put this on my resume, and I hope to receive scholarship opportunities."