The Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, congratulates Ryan Hrelijac for his award.
Grant Martin Photography
Ryan Hrelijac is a busy fellow these days.
The founder of the Ryan Well Foundation was in Toronto on July 5 to
receive a well deserved Gold Award of Achievement from His Royal Highness the
Duke of Edinburgh.
The award was shared with 120 young people from across Ontario who met at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. Ryan is back
from his first year at the University
of King’s College in Halifax where he is currently enrolled in the
university’s Bachelor of Arts program. He is back in Kemptville for the summer
working at the municipal centre as a day camp councilor.
“I am just another regular person looking into what I
will want to do,” he said referring to his university expectations.
The award comes from his efforts in other areas in his
life where community service, skill development, physical fitness and adventure
have played a major roll. The award promotes well-rounded character development
in people ages 14 to 25.
In Ryan’s case, his drive to bring clean water to those
who need it through the Ryan’s Well Foundation and his philosophy about helping
people one at a time along with his basketball and public speaking achievements
earned him the award. Added to those accomplishments was his six month trip on
one of the tall ships.
Meeting the Duke of Edinburgh was a thrill for all of
the award recipients. “He was pretty cool,” said Ryan.
Ryan has excelled at public speaking as he explains his
message of hope to the world. He has spoken at the United Nations about clean
water issues and has spearheaded clean water and related heath services to
people in Africa through projects in Nigeria,
Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia
and in Uganda.
At the age of 11, Ryan spoke at the World Summit of
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
He was selected to be one of UNICEF’s expert speakers
regarding water health and poverty.
“We have some exciting times ahead of us,” he said referring
to what the foundation is planning for the future. “We are looking forward to
playing our role and will continue to do what we do,” he added.