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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Laura Harris

Laura Harris

Wyoming

Laura Harris, 17, of Green River, Wyo., a senior at Green River High School, has helped raise a great deal of money to grant wishes for dozens of sick children in her state, makes blankets for newborns in foster care, and does chores for veterans who need help. Laura was born with a heart defect and was not expected to live to see her 10th birthday. But thanks to experimental surgery, Laura is not only alive, but has dedicated herself to helping others. "I am grateful every moment for the extended time I have been allowed, she said. I express my gratitude by providing hope to others.

Laura enlists the help of community organizations, church youth groups, sports teams, family members and friends. She promotes through radio, posters at a local grocery store, flyers she distributes at school, and word of mouth. I was given additional years to live, so I feel great passion in leading fundraising efforts to provide for the wishes of children whose lives are cut short, she said. After Lauras brother returned home with a traumatic brain injury, she decided to help veterans, too. She publicizes her services on the radio, urging veterans who need help to contact her. She has planted flowers for them, mowed lawns, cleaned houses, cooked meals, and simply visited with those who are lonely. Charles Dickens tells us, No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others, said Laura. On those days when I lift others, I feel my life has tremendous value.