July 3, 2012 · Updated 1:14 PM
POULSBO — Greer Gates, 14, of Poulsbo represented Washington state at the National Jefferson Awards June 19 in Washington, D.C.
A panel of community leaders selected her from among five state Jefferson Award winners to attend the National Jefferson Awards. The Jefferson Award was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard to be the "Nobel Prize of Public Service," to recognize, inspire and activate volunteerism and public service in communities, workplaces and schools across America.
Winners from around the country were celebrated and honored over two days, culminating in a black tie gala at Congressional Hall.
Gen. David Petraeus received the Jefferson Award for Great Public Service by an Appointed Official; musicians Harry Connick Jr and Branford Marsalis received awards for Outstanding Service by a Private Citizen for their work on the Musicians Village Neighborhood in New Orleans.
The event was attended by many well-recognized people from the entertainment, journalism and sports fields. Greer had the opportunity to meet and visit with other winners and learn about their projects around the country.
"It was so inspiring getting to hear the stories of all the other winners," she said. "It made me want to continue what I’m doing even more."
Greer was a Washington State Jefferson Award winner in February. She makes and sells jewelry to raise money for cancer research at the University of Washington Medical Center. Her project began at age 7 to honor a family friend, and since then she has sold more than $47,000 in jewelry and button creations. Greer chose the UW in part because 100 percent of the money goes to research. Her items range from $5 to $12 and can be seen at her website, www.myjewelsofhope.com.