Honoring Exemplary Americans
America250 is teaming up with the NFL for the America250 Awards – a multiyear awards program recognizing exemplary Americans.
Congratulations to the inaugural America250 Award recipients Shreyaa Venkat of Ashburn, Virginia, Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Braman of Orange County, California and Police Sgt. Almedin Ajanovic of Dacula, Georgia. They were respectively recognized in the “Community Champion,” “9/11 Hero,” and “First Responder” award categories. The award categories were inspired by and are in honor of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
- 9/11 Hero: Someone who responded with heroism to the tragic events of September 11, 2001 or who was inspired by the courageous acts of that day.
- First Responder: Someone who is a present-day hero and answers the call in response to emergencies and tragic events.
- Community Champion: Someone who embodies the everyday courage of our country’s extraordinary citizens who take heroic action to make local communities better.
Meet the Honorees
Award Category: Community Champion
Hometown: Ashburn, Virginia
Bio: Meet Shreyaa Venkat. As a 19-year-old Georgetown University student, she is the co-founder and CEO of NEST4US, a nonprofit tackling global hunger, quality education, and other societal issues. Shreyaa’s volunteer family has grown to 3,000+ people of all ages and backgrounds who have contributed over $1.3 million in value of volunteer hours impacting tens of thousands of people in 22 countries across six continents.
SFC Christopher D. Braman
Award Category: 9/11 Hero
Hometown: Orange County, CA
Bio: Meet Sergeant First Class Christopher Braman. Sgt. Braman is a retired U.S. Army Ranger who was working at the General Officer Mess at the Pentagon on 9/11. After the plane struck the Pentagon, Braman was thrown by the blast but quickly rushed towards the crash site and began evacuating people. Over the next 60 hours, he carried numerous bodies from the wreckage and saved multiple lives. Braman was later awarded the Purple Heart and Soldier’s Medal for his heroic actions. Please join America250 and the NFL in recognizing Sergeant Braman’s heroism and strong sense of duty.
Sgt. Almedin “AJ” Ajanovic
Award Category: First Responder
Hometown: Dacula, Georgia
Bio: Meet Sergeant Almedin Ajanovic. As a City of Lilburn police officer, Sgt. Ajanovic was off duty and headed home one night when he heard a call about a train derailment and fire. When he arrived at the scene, he ignored the potential of danger from fire, hazardous chemicals, and electricity from the explosion and climbed on the wrecked rail cars to lead two men to safety. Please join America250 and the NFL in recognizing Sergeant Ajanovic for his support to his community and response in the face of danger.
Designing the America250 Awards
The America250 Awards stand 14 inches tall and weigh 6.625 pounds, the state-of-the-art cast bronze sculpture forms an unbroken loop of bending perspectives, representing the dynamism, renewal, and lasting durability of the American project. The design also forms a star when viewed from above – a longtime symbol of our nation and its heroes.
Designed and handcrafted by Bennett Awards, a family-owned company based in Placerville, California, America250 will present the custom award to each Honoree.
Meet the 2021 America250 Awards Judges
The 2021 America250 Awards Honorees are selected by a panel of six distinguished judges, each embodying the core values of the program: a lasting commitment to their community, a willingness to rise up in the face of adversity, and a selflessness that resembles the American Spirit on 9/11.
The panelists include: Joe Daniels, America250 Foundation; Kathy-Roth Douquet, Blue Star Families; Usama Young, National Football League; Terry G. Sears, Tuesday’s Children; Val Crofts, U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission; and Elisha Rhodes, YWCA USA. Learn more about our judges below.
“As someone who loves this country and is deeply patriotic, I am honored to be serving as a judge for the America250 Awards. There is no better feeling than being able to recognize the accomplishments of devoted Americans.” – Joe Daniels, America250 Foundation President & CEO