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President Bush to present GSU student with Volunteer Service Award
Rebekah Rotton
President George W. Bush is coming to Statesboro Monday, but first, he will stop for a moment upon arrival at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah to honor a Georgia Southern University student for volunteerism.
    Bush will present GSU senior Rebekah Rotton, 21, with the President's Volunteer Service Award, said Alyssa McClenning, White House spokesman.
    Rotton, who is the reigning Miss Georgia Southern, volunteers with various programs centering around diabetes awareness. Diabetes has affected her family, she said.
    Rotton is thrilled to meet the president, she said.
    Bush will arrive, "hop out, shake my hand" and pin an award pin on her lapel, "then head for Statesboro," she said. "It will be just a brief encounter, but I'm excited about meeting him."
    Rotton is a USA Freedom Corps Greeter, an honor bestowed upon volunteers such as Rotton "to thank them for making a difference in the lives of others," McClenning said. During his travels across the country, Bush has met with more than 550 volunteers since 2002.
    He will honor Rotton for her efforts in promoting diabetes awareness through volunteering for the American Diabetes Association as well as other organizations, she said.
    In working with the ADA, Rotton recruits clubs and individuals to participate in events such as today's Walk for Diabetes at Mill Creek Park. It is her platform as Miss Georgia Southern University as well, she said.
    Rotton also works with the School Walk for Diabetes, where students in elementary, middle and high schools walk in their school gym to raise money and awareness of the disease, she said.
    "I teach them the importance of having a healthy lifestyle," she said.
    She also teaches dance as an activities counselor for Camp Kudzu, a summer camp and weekend program for children with diabetes. And Rotton also serves as a "Southern Ambassador" - a tour guide - for people visiting Georgia Southern University.
    Rotton's honor stems from when Bush "called on all Americans to make a difference in their communities through volunteer service," McClenning said. "He created USA Freedom Corps, an office of the White House, to strengthen and expand volunteer service."
    More than 65.4 million Americans volunteered in 2005, according to the Bureau of labor Statistics.
    According to Internet web site, during his 2002 State of the Union address,  Bush challenged all Americans to "make time to help their neighbors, communities, and nation through service," calling on everyone to dedicate at least 4,000 hours – or two years – to service over the course of their lives.
    The President's Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals, families, and groups that have achieved a certain standard – measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime.
    Award recipients receive an official President’s Volunteer Service Award pin, a personalized certificate of achievement,  a note of congratulations from the president and a letter from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.
    Rotton said she sent information regarding her service to the White House Monday, had a telephone interview Tuesday and learned she would receive the award Wednesday.
    "It's been a whirlwind," she said.
    Rotton is a public relations major and hails from Metter.
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