INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 29, 2015) – A recent Roncalli High School graduate gets a big honor for his giving spirit.
You’ll notice 18-year-old Zach Smith is always ready to jump-in and help in any way he can. Whether he’s leading a funny song as a junior camp counselor at the YMCA, or just keeping a watchful eye on the kids, his friends will tell you -- Zach is always putting others first.
“He’s just wonderful person all around,” said friend and YMCA co-worker Shelby Reid.
Smith was recently given the “Spirit of Service Youth Award’’ award from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, recognized for all the time he spends volunteering through his church and working as a youth board member for the “Celebration of Life Foundation” – all while overcoming a lot himself.
“It’s Distal Spinal Muscular Atrophy.” Zach Smith explains, “the jist of it is, that I’m weak in muscles that are closet to my core.”
“One of our kids asked one of our campers, ‘what’s wrong with Hotrod?’ Because that’s his camp name, and she said, ‘Oh he was just born awesome,’ and they were like, ‘Oh okay,’” Reid said smiling.
“Hotrod,” as they call him at camp, knows what it’s like to be a curious kid at the YMCA. He’s been involved with the YMCA for 13 years now, doing everything from camps as kid himself, to personal training.
“We like it when the kids in the community grow-up with the Y and eventually they come back – Zach is a perfect example of that and his resilience is really something to write home about,” said Member Involvement Director Mary Overstreet.
“He’s always putting others before himself, which is truly awesome,” Reid said.
“I don’t think I’m some sort of… super servicey person,” Smith said. “It’s just… someone needs help so you help ‘em out!” he said.
“There are things out there that I can do to change people’s lives and I want to do that,” Smith said.
Smith plans to attend IUPUI and eventually hopes to start an organization to help others, with any kind of handicap, to do what they love as well.