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Two Loyola alumni recognized by White House for service

January 13, 2012

As the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday approaches, the White House, in coordination with the Corporation for National and Community Service, honored two Loyola University New Orleans alumni, Ansel Augustine ’00, M.P.S. ’02, and John Smestad Jr. ’96, M.R.E. ’00, for their commitment to service through the MLK Drum Majors for Service program. Former Loyola student Daniel Green was also recognized with the award.

Augustine, Smestad and Green are part of the Imani team, a group of 14 adults, young adults and high school students acknowledged by the White House for their efforts to rebuild the New Orleans’s faith community. According to a White House press release, the team has gone into black Catholic churches and helped rebuild those ministries, youth ministries in particular, and brought life back to the churches and surrounding neighborhoods.

Since Hurricane Katrina, volunteers have developed a five-year strategic plan for youth and young adult ministries for the black parishes in the archdiocese. They have also organized retreats and workshops to address the topic of youth ministry.

The MLK Drum Majors program gives organizations and groups an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment, but who seldom receive recognition. Drum Major awardees receive an award from CNCS designating them as a “Drum Major for Service” with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

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