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Taylor Swift honors Eagle Scout at TeenNick HALO Awards

How does it feel getting a shout out from Taylor Swift?

Ask Eagle Scout James O’Dwyer, whose relief program in Alabama to provide aid to tornado victims caught Swift’s eye.

The singer, who has donated millions of dollars and hundreds of hours to disaster relief, nominated O’Dwyer to receive a TeenNick HALO Award, given to “teens who work hard to make the world a better place.”

Reading that description, does it surprise you that an Eagle Scout was among the HALO Award recipients? Me either.

Don’t miss Swift and O’Dwyer on the televised award ceremony 8 p.m. (EST) Sunday. You’ll also see big-name celebrities — David Beckham, Jessica Biel, Lady Gaga — and impressive teens, including a young woman who started an anti-bullying Web site that’s now boasts 500,000 members.

I’ll be watching for O’Dwyer. I doubt that even Lady Gaga’s outrageous outfit will upstage this kid’s extraordinary story.

In April, a devastating EF4 tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., leaving a six-mile track of destruction in its wake.

James O'Dwyer (right) with emcee Nick Cannon (center) and the other HALO awardees.

O’Dwyer, a freshman at the University of Alabama at the time, formed Magnolia Disaster Relief, an assistance program targeting small rural towns hit the hardest by tornadoes. He delivered food, water, clothing, toys, furniture, and refrigerators to those needing help to restart their lives.

Around that same time, Swift gave $250,000 to University of Alabama coach Nick Saban’s charity to help kids affected by the storms.

And when Swift heard about O’Dwyer’s on-the-ground devotion to the same cause, she wanted to honor his actions.

I heard about O’Dwyer’s story from his father, Ed. The proud papa remembers his son’s days with Troop 87 in Roswell, Ga., and the kind of leadership lessons that the Eagle Scout gained through Scouting.

Lessons put to work in service to others? I’d say that’s worthy of quite a few awards. Nice job, James!

1 Comment on Taylor Swift honors Eagle Scout at TeenNick HALO Awards

  1. David Wilson // November 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm // Reply

    I had the honor to work with James on a diaster relief drive in Duluth, Ga. I mentioned to him that I was Asst. Scoutmaster with Troop 26 in Norcross, Ga. He told me he was an Eagle Scout and I was not suprised that he was doing what he was doing. To say I am impressed with this young man is an understatment. He asked me if I would help him load the huge truck with the supplies that had been donated. We had a great time and my son, a second class scout, told me he wanted to be an Eagle just like James. This young man is what Scouting is all about! I hope to have him come to one of our troop meetings to talk to my boys about what he is doing with disaster relief. James Rocks!!!

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