Benjamin Hanks
winners 2019

Benjamin Hanks is continuing studies in Clinical Psychology with the goal of helping those struggling with mental illness. He hopes to concentrate on helping those who are underserved or who are facing financial issues. While Benjamin Hanks shared many examples of how he embodies the American Dream, he also protected the American Dream in the Army during the early years of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After serving in the Army, he began to work for the National Park Service as a wild-land firefighter. Benjamin eloquently described the American Dream:

The “American Dream” is such a well-known phrase in our country and, although the phrase may not be used often in other countries, my multitude of experience with immigrants has taught me that the spirit of this phrase is very much alive around the world. Given that we are at our core a nation of immigrants I tend to understand this mantra as being directly related to this and embodied by the ideals of independence, adaptability, and achievement. At its conception our country was populated with those willing to take risks to break away from oppressive authority that sought to govern for its own gain without much thought to the betterment of the average person.

As we have progressed as a country this need for the average man to have a fair chance at bettering his life has influenced who we are and how we choose to interact with each other. Focusing on the needs of others is not only a way to help others achieve the American Dream, but also allows you to fully embrace that ideal in yourself.

We are so grateful for Benjamin Hanks’ service to our country and look forward to seeing him thrive in his career.