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Intellect

Annual Brigham Awards honor outstanding citizenship

Brigham Young University recently recognized seven individuals with the 2002-2003 Brigham Award, which recognizes outstanding service in the campus community.

"This award is one given to those at BYU who are dedicated to the university and have demonstrated lifelong service," said Heather Hollingshead, a campus activities executive director for the Brigham Young University Student Service Association. "They are people who exemplify Christ-centered characteristics in all they do and say."

Close to 300 people were nominated this year.

The recipients -- Joseph Jackson, James McDonald, Colonel Roger Maher, Theodore Okawa, Zacharay Robertson, Kristie Seawright and Jacob Strain -- each received a statue of Brigham Young and were honored at the year-end forum.

Jackson's brother, William, nominated him for the service projects he has developed for people living in difficult circumstances around the world.

The Jacksons grew up overseas and have lived in a variety of Third World countries.

"He worked directly with the school leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to draw up a proposal and has since found many people and organizations willing to donate. This summer he is traveling across America for over a month to raise money for this school," said William.

McDonald, a professor of economics at BYU, was nominated by one of his students, Troy Smith.

"He takes the time to learn the names of his students -- a rarity at a big campus like BYU -- and he even makes an effort to individually call the parents of each of the students in his class throughout the semester to tell them that their son or daughter is doing a good job," Smith said. "Both the parents and the students appreciate this special attention. His personal touch inspires his students to work harder and become better people."

Maher is the Air Force ROTC commander at BYU. The cadet who nominated him said, "When I first joined, no one knew me or my name, but Colonel Maher always remembered my name. He has shown me that one can be a leader, even over the military, without harsh words or any form of demeaning others."

A number of international students nominated Okawa, an international student adviser, because of his commitment to the international student community at BYU. He helps students who meet with the Immigration and Naturalization Services.

Robertson, an executive director in the Student Advisory Council, was selected for his daily service.

"He has opportunities to spend his summers in well-paying jobs, yet for three summers in a row he has demonstrated his charity and active concern for others' welfare through being a counselor at a wilderness camp for troubled teens," said Cheyenne Cameron, the student who nominated Robertson.

Seawright, an associate professor with the Marriott School of Management, helped start the Marriott School's international study-abroad programs. A group of students and professors nominated her.

One nominator said about Seawright, "Last year she literally spent hundred of hours working on five federal grant applications, which have the potential of bringing millions of dollars to BYU to further the work of international and area studies students and faculty."

Strain's wife, Elodia Strain, nominated him for his devotion and service. She was injured in an accident before their marriage, which left her unable to walk about one-third of the time.

"During the fall semester, at times when I was unable to walk, Jacob drove me to class early and then went home, parked the car, and walked to his own class. He then left his class, walked home again to get the car to pick me up, and then drove me home," she said.

Strain also typed entire papers for his wife as she dictated them from the bed because it was too painful for her to sit at a computer.

The Brigham Awards are given annually for service efforts at BYU.

For more information, contact Heather Hollingshead at (801) 422-5698 or (801) 371-3032.

Writer: Liesel Enke

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