TENNERTON — A Buckhannon-Upshur High School senior has won a prestigious Lions Clubs International Award.
Dalton “Hunter” Tenney was presented the Leo of the Year Award by past council chairperson of the Lions of West Virginia Al Cox during a meeting of the Tennerton Lions Club Monday.
Cox noted that only 38 Leos out of 175,600 worldwide receive the award each year.
“It’s very significant,” he said. “To my knowledge, I don’t know of any other Leos here that have won the award.”
Leos are the junior version of Lions and those Leos considered for the award must have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, achieved a superior record as a Leo in implementing successful service projects, made an identifiable contribution to the development and growth of the Leo Club program and demonstrated high ethical standards and personal integrity.
Sandra Phillips, past Tennerton Lions Club president and past advisor of the Leo Club, nominated Tenney, the son of Roger and Bonnie Tenney, for the award.
“He has been in the Leo Club since sixth grade,” she said, adding that Tenney had participated in numerous service projects. “I always opened it up to any of their suggestions about what type of service projects they would like do and I encouraged them to participate. The parents have to be involved. His parents were fully behind him.”
Phillips said she was happy to nominate Tenney because he has done a lot in the community.
There were four questions Phillip used for the nomination form which asked about Tenney’s demonstrated leadership skills, service projects, how he contributed to the growth of the club and his achievements outside of the Leo Club. She was able to fill two whole pages answering those questions about Tenney.
Tenney said he was honored with the accolade.
“It was, for me, a big accomplishment,” he said. “It is something that I have put a lot of my early years into in middle school and high school. It feels nice you can get rewarded for helping the community out.”
Tenney said he joined the Leo Club in sixth grade after meeting Phillips when she was in the cafeteria recruiting students.
“I had seen signs before around the school and I thought maybe I could join and help out — not thinking a whole lot about what a difference it would make in my life,” he said. “I ended up liking it and spending years in it and became president. During my ninth, 10th and 11th grade years, I was very active.”
Outside of the Leo Club, Tenney has participated in other activities including Camp Horseshoe. He even returned as an assistant counselor after he aged out of being a camper.
“Since I went, I thought it would be nice to help them and give them a little bit back,” he said.
He credits his experiences in the Leo Club with igniting his leadership abilities.
“Being in the Leo Club was what first got me thinking about a leadership role in other groups in school or even among my friends,” he said. “It helped break the egg shell so to speak in helping me become who I am today.”
This school year, Tenney said he has been busy with school and applying for colleges and financial aid and has not been as active as in years past. He still hopes to help the Tennerton Lions with some fundraising this year.
Tenney ran cross country his sophomore and junior years, played tennis his junior year and is planning to play tennis as a senior in the spring.
Tenney said he is leaning towards a career in the athletic field such as athletic training or physical therapy and said he would enjoy coaching high school athletes as a side hobby.
He offered this advice to others: “Just give back in any way you can. It doesn’t have to be in a big meaningful way with a lot of money. Every little bit in a small community can help someone.”