OSI agent selected for Jaycees 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Americans award

  • Published
  • By Air Force Office of Special Investigations Public Affairs Office
The U.S. Jaycees is pleased to name the 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Americans who will be honored at the 77th annual black-tie awards ceremony to be held Saturday, March 28, 2015, at the Embassy Suites Nashville Airport Hotel, Nashville, Tenn.

Special Agent Emmanuel Merhan, 37, an Air Force Office of Special Investigations federal agent, currently assigned to the 4th Field Investigations Squadron, Germany, was selected for this prestigious award for 2015. 

"Wow, Agent Merhan shares his selection with some incredible company!" said Brig. Gen. Keith M. Givens, OSI Commander. 

The Ten Outstanding Young Americans program (TOYA) is one of the oldest and most prestigious recognition programs in America. Previous honorees include Bill Clinton (1979), John F. Kennedy (1946), Dick Cheney (1976), Kurt Warner (2010), Wayne Newton (1977), Gale Sayers (1969), Elvis Presley (1970), Michele Tafoya (2001), and Ruth Riley (2014).

For more than 75 years, the United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) has recognized 10 young men and women - ages 18 to 40 - who best exemplify the highest attributes of the nation's emerging generation for the Chambers Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award. 

"Every year, the United States Junior Chamber recognizes the accomplishments of 10 individuals who are truly outstanding, and 2015 is no different. Through an intense judging process, these 10 individuals being honored as recipients of the USJC Ten Outstanding Young American recognition are truly accomplished in their fields, in giving back to their communities, and in promoting that "service to humanity is the best work of life," said Jennifer Ray, 95th President of the US Jaycees. 

"These 10 individuals represent the best of the best and individuals we should strive to emulate in our everyday actions. It is my honor to present them their TOYA award in Nashville, and to know without a doubt, as inscribed on the base of the award that, 'the hope of mankind lies in the hands of youth in action.' Each honoree has shown a commitment to that hope, reminding all Americans that no problem is too difficult when handled with grace, ingenuity, courage, and determination," Ray said. 

The United States Jaycees Class of 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Americans honorees include:

Catherine Draeger, 36, Founder, Shielded Hearts

Dallas Eaton, 26, CoFounder/CEO, United Luv
Billings, Mont.

Dr. Michael Feilmeier, 36, Ophthalmologist
Omaha, Neb.

Missy Franklin, 19, U.S., Olympic athlete
Centennial, Colo.

Ronda Zelezny-Green, 31, Ph.D., student, Mobile-Learning Expert

Major Tucker Hamilton, 35, Experimental Fighter Test Pilot, United States Air Force
Arlington, Va.

Chad Houser, 39, Executive Director, Executive Chef, Café Momentum

Bivian "Sonny" Lee, III, 33, Founder, President, Son of Saint Foundation
New Orleans

Brad McKee, 29, Co-Founder, President, Disposable Heroes Project
Hammond, La.

Special Agent Emmanuel Merhan, 37, Federal Law Enforcement Officer, Special Investigator, United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations

Leadership development through community involvement has been the basis of the Jaycees since its inception in 1920. The goal of the not-for-profit organization is to provide members a means to reach their full potential through networking and personal growth opportunities, and is ideal for proactive young people ages 18 to 40.

Members enhance a variety of leadership, management and communication skills as they work together to plan and run civic and individual development activities which affect positive change in their home communities and throughout the world. To learn more about the Jaycees visit www.usjaycees.org.

To learn more about the 2015 Ten Outstanding Young American honorees, the program, or the 77th Annual Banquet and Ceremony event, please visit www.usjaycees.org/toya.