After displaying incredible character and volunteerism for her work with "First Things First," an organization focused on supplying baby basics to those in need, 8-year-old Julia Pate was honored recently by the village of Lombard.
Trustee Dan Whittington, chairman of the village's community relations committee, awarded Julia the Medal of Character Excellence. Julia was joined by her parents, Heather and Jay Pate.
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Julia was nominated by Sandra Hill, outreach coordinator for the First Church of Lombard. Hill said Julia was assigned a service project and chose to focus on First Things First because of a desire to help children. She initiated a First Things First fundraiser at the Lombard Walgreens on St. Charles Road and made posters, passed out fliers and encouraged shoppers to donate to the community's smallest and most vulnerable children.
With help from her mother, Julia's efforts filled three shopping carts with supplies and collected $72 in extra cash to give to First Things First. First Things First supplies baby basics such as diapers, baby wipes, formula, shampoo and more -- and Julia had a huge hand in the organization's current supply.
Heather Pate said she and her daughter were taken aback by shoppers' willingness to help their cause once they spoke with Julia.
"We were really overwhelmed by the amount of generosity from people," Heather Pate said. "I did not know what to expect. That was the most exciting part. Every single person that walked in that door -- old, young -- walked out and gave us something."
Hill said, "It is especially heartwarming when a young person understands the needs of others and makes it a priority in their own life to make a difference. Julia Pate, with support from her family, is that young person."
The Medal of Character Excellence recognizes the youth of the Lombard community for good character. Nominees are reviewed as needed by the village's community relations committee. Nomination forms can be found under Online Forms on the village's website, villageoflombard.org.