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!

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.