Dublin Villager

Ozello's volunteer efforts earn Presidential recognition

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Not many teens have a signed letter from President Barack Obama.

But Jerome High School senior Hudson Ozello received a letter along with his President's Volunteer Service Award.

He also was named a local honoree by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Both awards honor volunteer work.

"My mom found out about (the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards) and I filled out an application and turned it into the school," Ozello said.

"The principal can nominate one person for every 500 students."

Ozello then found out he qualified for a President's Volunteer Service Award.

"I got called down to the office during math (class)," he said, adding friends thought he might have been in trouble.

"I got back and said, 'I just got a letter from the President.'"

Volunteering has been a lifelong activity for the senior.

"I've been doing (volunteer work) with my mom since I was very young," Ozello said.

"She would just take me along with her."

Service has also included volunteering at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and an annual mission trip with Ozello's church.

"It's always been a large part of my life," Ozello said.

Last summer, Ozello invented his own service project: a fundraiser to make a Guinness World Record breaking zip-tie chain.

He set up a booth outside Dublin's Independence Day entertainment and sold zip ties for people to add to the chain.

A record-breaking chain of 10,979 zip ties and $3,000 for the Blessings in a Backpack program at Chapman Elementary School came out of the venture.

"I'm going to redo it this summer since people know the name and I have the supplies," he said.

Ozello's good works also included inventing Celtic Compliment on Facebook with a friend. Students can send in compliments for other students that are posted online.

"Within the first month, we had 1,000 compliments," he said, adding that a few sophomores have stepped up to manage the page when the founders graduate.

Being part of the Boy Scouts also kept Ozello in community service.

"I recently achieved Eagle Scout rank," he said.

"I led the construction of four planter boxes for Indian Run Elementary.

"They raise food and donate it to the Dublin Food Pantry."

Ozello wasn't expecting to be recognized for his service. It's something that's a part of his life, he said.

"It's something I enjoy doing. I like meeting new people and trying new things. ... I like to initiate," he said. "There's nothing really holding you back except for yourself."

Volunteering isn't Ozello's only bailiwick, though.

"I'm captain of the varsity crew team," he said. "I'm in the Key Club.

"That's how I got started (with volunteering). I enjoy sports and hanging out with my friends."

After graduation, Ozello plans to attend college -- he hasn't yet picked a school, but he has received a scholarship from Ohio State University -- and major in engineering or business.

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