By Aaron McLaughlin
“It was June 28th, 2022, at 11:05 AM,” said Five Towns College Mass Communication student, Ethan Klenokfsky, recalling the moment his mom showed him the email from Congress informing him that he had earned the prestigious Congressional Award. The email stated, ‘YOU EARNED IT’ in capital letters. Klenokfsky’s reaction was memorable. He said, “‘Holy Moly’… I was just so excited that I earned it.”
The non-partisan Award is given to young Americans by Congress and is open to all youth in the United States between the ages of 14 and 24. Recipients can obtain a bronze, silver, or gold certificate as well as medals. Goal-setting requirements include voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration.
A July press release stated, “Ethan worked hard to achieve his goal of receiving the Congressional Award before his 24th birthday.” Klenofsky used his time volunteering at the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center in Wyandanch and also spent time volunteering at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip.
The Babylon resident detailed the service acts he did to achieve the Award. “I donated blood, wrote thank you letters to hospital staff, and worked in a food pantry.” As for other aspects of Klenofsky’s journey, he continued to branch out. “I worked in a law office and learned how to become a good intern; then I walked one hour a day for fifteen days as part of the physical fitness requirement.”
In addition to the Congressional Award, Klenofsky was recently recognized with a Daily Point of Light Award from the non-profit service organization founded by President George H.W. Bush.
Klenofsky encourages other Five Towns students to pursue service awards, saying, “It gets you involved in your community, and it betters your community. You better yourself too. It shows what you can do and what you can accomplish.”