Trennery Turner earns $1,000 scholarship

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FARMINGTON — A Piedra Vista High School senior has been recognized by one of the nation’s largest programs for young volunteers.

Trennery Turner was named the New Mexico high school recipient of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards this week. The nationwide awards program recognizes young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism, according to a press release.

“I’ve been volunteering since I can remember, so with the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, this really fits who I am, because it’s all about volunteering and giving back to (your) community,” Turner said on Wednesday.

Turner was recognized for her seven years of volunteer service at several different local organizations and groups, including San Juan County 4H, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Juan County, the San Juan Regional Medical Center, the San Juan Safe Communities Initiative’s UmattR team and the PVHS Panthers Care Initiative Club.

She said volunteering has been an important part of her childhood. Her parents, Mark Turner and Lisa Ormond, are both teachers and active volunteers, and as a child, she often accompanied her parents when they volunteered.

Those experiences made an impression on her, and Turner said she now spends much of her free time volunteering.

She said she helps underprivileged children learn how to compete in rodeos and lends her horse and equipment to kids in need, encourages kids to live healthy and drug-free lives, and does her best to uplift and enable at-risk kids.

Her volunteer work even enabled her to save a life this summer.

Turner said she was volunteering at the information desk at the San Juan Regional Medical Center when she heard there was a man seizing outside the hospital entrance, but “no one would help him, because he appeared to be homeless.” She called for help and went to the man while security and the emergency medical staff arrived.

Her actions that day saved the man’s life, according to the press release, and the hospital gave Turner the CEO’s award for excellence for her response.

“I’m a humanist,” Turner said. “I love giving back to the community from which I came, and I can’t wait to come back after I (finish) medical school and work with Indian Health Services and give back to those that need it the most.”

Turner, who will graduate in May, said she will apply to New Mexico State University’s Osteopathic Medicine Pathway Program and the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine with the goal of becoming a pediatrician or an obstetrician and gynecologist. 

Turner and other state award winners — including New Mexico’s middle school recipient, Lily Chacon of Albuquerque — will each receive a $1,000 scholarship, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in April, according to the press release.

Turner said she’s never been to the U.S. Capitol before, and though she was excited to see the sights and meet her peers, she said she’s most looking forward to helping with a community service project the organization will facilitate. The award winners will visit local schools to deliver donated books and read to local kids.

“I’m really excited that we’re not just going there for the fun, but we’re going there to give back to the communities that we’re not from, but the communities that need help as well,” Turner said.

PV Principal Dave Golden said the school is “just real proud of” Turner and her volunteer work.
 
“She is a change-maker who will make significant impact, even more so than she is right now, in her adult life, as opposed to her young adult life,” Golden said, adding that “hopefully, she’s planted the seed in other students and organizations to continue this kind of work.”

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.

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