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K00862 Summary:

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K00862 Text:

Assembly Resolution No. 862
BY: M. of A. Lemondes
        HONORING  Damon  Gilstrap upon the occasion of his
        designation as recipient of the  Chancellor's  Award
        for Student Excellence
  WHEREAS,  It  is  the  sense  of  this  Legislative  Body to commend
individuals of outstanding character,  who  have  shown  initiative  and
commitment  toward  constantly pursuing higher goals for themselves, and
acting as role models of leadership to be emulated  by  both  peers  and
young people; and
  WHEREAS,  Attendant  to  such  concern  and  in full accord with its
long-standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly proud to honor
Damon Gilstrap upon the occasion of his designation as recipient of  the
Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence; and
  WHEREAS,  The Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence honors State
University of  New  York  students  who  have  best  demonstrated  their
integration  of  academic  excellence with other aspects of their lives,
which may include  leadership,  campus  involvement,  athletics,  career
achievement, community service or creative and performing arts; and
  WHEREAS,  Established  in  1998,  the Chancellor's Award for Student
Excellence is the highest student recognition in the State University of
New York (SUNY) system; and
  WHEREAS,  As  recipient  of  this  most  prestigious  award,   Damon
Gilstrap, who will graduate from Onondaga Community College (OCC) in May
with a degree in social services, truly embodies the power of SUNY; and
  WHEREAS,  A  proven leader and role model, this extraordinary man is
being recognized not only for academic achievement,  but  also  for  the
profound impact he has had on OCC and the community-at-large; and
  WHEREAS, Everything about Damon Gilstrap, from his walk to his voice
to  his  accolades,  has  been  hard won; the first half of his life was
marked by tragedies and until 2015, he had only a fifth-grade education;
  WHEREAS, Damon  Gilstrap  overcame  much  adversity,  including  the
untimely  death of his mother, the foster care system and incarceration,
and landed a job he loved as a groundskeeper for  the  Syracuse  Housing
Authority; but soon thereafter, in 2006, he suffered a stroke from three
undetected brain tumors; and
  WHEREAS,  During  this time, although being told by doctors he would
never maneuver without a walker, Damon Gilstrap built an obstacle course
in  his  backyard  out  of  old  tires,  cinderblocks   and   rope;   he
painstakingly  navigated  the  course repeatedly until he was walking on
his own two feet; and
  WHEREAS, In 2015, Damon Gilstrap went back to school to get his high
school equivalency and college preparation certificates at the  Syracuse
Educational  Opportunity  Center  before beginning his education at OCC;
  WHEREAS,  Damon  Gilstrap's  determination  is  inexhaustible and he
directs it towards people who might share in his courage; he  has  given
tirelessly  of his time and energies within the prison system, mentoring
incarcerated youth; and
  WHEREAS, Furthermore, with a steadfast and unwavering commitment  to
giving back, he volunteered with the 100 Black Men of Syracuse, Inc. and
worked with The Grace Project as a mentor; and
  WHEREAS,  In addition to his successful educational endeavors, Damon
Gilstrap published his first book, From Tragedy to Homeless to  Triumph,
in  2014;  he is also the recipient of the Norman R. McConney Jr.  Award
for student excellence; and
  WHEREAS, With him throughout have been his loving  partner,  Angela,
and  his older brother, Shawn, both of whom feel privileged to be a part
of his life and rejoice in his many achievements; and
  WHEREAS, As Damon Gilstrap takes his leave of OCC,  he  bequeaths  a
legacy of academic achievement, school involvement and community service
to which others may aspire; and
  WHEREAS,  It  is  the  custom  of  this  Legislative  Body that when
individuals of such noble aims and accomplishments are  brought  to  our
attention,  they should be celebrated and recognized by all the citizens
of this great Empire State; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its  deliberations  to
honor  Damon  Gilstrap upon the occasion of his designation as recipient
of the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That a copy of this  Resolution,  suitably  engrossed,  be
transmitted to Damon Gilstrap.
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