It is with a full heart that I write this post. Last fall I was selected as a regional Jefferson Award winner by KPIX TV and KCBS Radio in San Francisco. In January I was selected as a Silver Jefferson Award for being in the top five local winners. In May I learned that of the five I was to represent KPIX and KCBS in Washington, D.C. at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremony. This was an incredible honor.
The Jefferson Awards were created to be an equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize recognizing individuals for public service, and it is the nations highest award in this field. During the National Ceremony five individuals are selected in secret and given the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award during the ceremony. I, Michelle Lacourciere, Director of the Sirona Cares Foundation, received one of the five awards yesterday.
These award ceremonies show us all what is so very right in America. Three days of celebrating amazing programs, projects, compassion and positive energy. A major effort is put into recognition of youth who are giving their time and effort to make lives better. It was extremely humbling to be invited to this ceremony, and I have many, many people to thank for their support in getting Sirona to this stage. My family and friends have supported me through every hurdle and challenge, and without this support network I simply could not travel as much as I must to keep our programs growing. I also wish to thank my Board of Directors and my amazing volunteers who have come through in amazing ways, every time.
The IEEE and its Community Solutions Initiative (CSI) deserves much gratitude and appreciation. Partnering with the IEEE allowed us to take a dream and turn it into a reality. There are countless individuals who have given their time and talent, and the IEEE has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for development and delivery of equipment that has brought light to villages across Haiti. I am eternally grateful to the IEEE and CSI for it’s commitment to bringing energy to developing countries.
My manufacturing partners Wagan Tech and Day and Night Solar also deserve a huge thanks. They have worked with me to develop cost effective products that will change the lives of many in the future. It has been a blessing to work with these companies who are dedicated to our mission of bringing energy to the poor.
Without the support of KPIX TV and KCBS Radio we would never have been noticed. I thank these groups for nominating me, for the footage they have created, and for the support that they have given me.
Finally, without our Haitian partners we would be nowhere. I am forever in the debt of our team in Haiti, the friends who I have worked with down there to grow and improve the program, UNEP, USAID, the Government of Haiti’s Ministry of Energy and National Utility, and most especially our Operators and customers who are truly the ones who proved that this program works.
With all my thanks,