Independence Middle School Eighth Grader Matthew Ruffing received a Certificate of Excellence from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
The certificate signifies that Matthew was among the top 10 percent of Pennsylvania students who were entered into this year’s program.
Additionally, Matthew received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country. He received a letter and certificate from President Donald Trump as well.
Matthew was recognized for his support of active and former members of the military, sending boxes to deployed soldiers, containing letters written by students, as well as supplies and clothing. Matthew decorates every box he sends with pictures that are customized to the recipients.
He works on this every day during his lunch period and at home.
He was inspired to do this by Independence Middle School Social Studies Teacher Jennifer Makel, who shared the story of her father’s military service in Vietnam with him. Matthew wanted to do something to make active and former service members feel appreciated.