On Dec. 3, 2013, I was awarded the Secretary of State's Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad. This award is open to all Foreign Service Officers and their spouses who make an effort to volunteer in whatever country they serve. I was awarded for my efforts with the students in Nepal as I taught them digital literacy skills. I've never been one for recognition or fame. I'm a quiet person, a hard worker, and happy to sit in the back and cheer others on. But, I'm all for making a difference and inspiring others to do the same, so I graciously accepted the award given to me.

It was most wonderful to have the support of colleagues, family, and friends. I left the ceremony feeling inspired by the good things that are happening throughout the world and wanting to do more. 
This year was the first year that awardees' congressmen were invited to attend the ceremony. I'm proud to say that my Congressman, Rep. Chris Stewart [UT-2] , was the only one who accepted. He represented Utah well and it was an honor to have him support me. 
Before the awards ceremony, I was allowed to bring two guests with me to tour the diplomatic rooms on the top floor of the State Department building. These rooms are beautiful, and are filled with a large collection of furniture, art, and other pieces with importance to U.S. diplomacy. Normally, the SOSA awards are presented in these rooms, but this year there were complications and we had to move to another location. The beautiful Christmas decorations were an added bonus. 

Below are my remarks -- I wanted to issue a call to action for all of us. This day wasn't really about me or the other awardees. It was about the efforts of many who serve so diligently for good. It was about the students of Nepal who welcomed me and my crazy ways so graciously and with energetic minds. 

May we all keep trying to make the world a little better.


12/16/2013 9:55pm

Hi, Gretel,
Congratulations! A well-deserved honor. I have followed and benefited from your blog intermittently for a little over a year. Your passion, hard work and dedication to excellence, your work have touched and encouraged me on many levels: as a committed wife and mother, a true heart for others, and an example of diligence and hard work. Thank you.

Gretel Patch
12/18/2013 9:25am

Hi Brenda -- thanks so much for your very kind comments! I really appreciate you taking the time to be so encouraging. All the best to you!

John Thompson
12/19/2013 2:56am

Congratulations on your well-deserved award, Gretel. What you're doing is tremendous in its short-term and long-term impact. You and your work reflect well on Boise State University and the United States. Thank you for all that you are doing. Happy Holidays!

Gretel Patch
12/21/2013 9:48am

Hi Dr. Thompson! Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. I truly appreciate all that I have learned and hopefully been able to contribute in some small way. I loved every minute of my BSU EdTech experience and hope to use my skills to ... well, change the world :) Thanks again!


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