Everyday heroes in your community serving as an inspiration to the people whose lives they touch — this is the heart and soul of the Essence of Humanity Award.

Aung Naing Oo receives Essence of Humanity Award

Aung Naing Oo of Lancaster was awarded the Essence of Humanity Award on August 25, 2011, at the School District of Lancaster’s All-Staff Meeting.

The Essence of Humanity Award recognizes individuals who, beyond the requirements of their work, demonstrate remarkable human qualities including courage, love, strength, determination, and persistence when dealing with adversity.

About Aung Naing Oo

Aung Naing Oo’s  nomination essay was submitted by Angela Kerrick and Bill Jimenez.  The following are excerpts.

Aung Naing Oo was born in 1992 in the forest somewhere between Burma and Thailand as his parents fled the tyranny of the Burmese army.  He does not remember his mom dying, but knows that she died of a heart attack as a result of the difficult journey to Thailand.  His father abandoned him at the refugee camp in Thailand and left him in the care of his uncle. 

At the age of 16, and with the help of the United Nations, Aung and his uncle made the difficult journey to the United States.  With the help of Lutheran Refugee Services, Aung and his uncle began to build a life in Lancaster and Aung enrolled at the International School at McCaskey East in April 2008.  Finding it difficult to support both he and Aung, his uncle placed Aung in foster care in January 2009 and left Lancaster. 

Despite these overwhelming obstacles, Aung has shown remarkable resilience.  He has become an outstanding student, joined the soccer team his junior year, and was chosen by his peers as a member of the Homecoming Court.  Aung graduated from McCaskey in June with a 3.2 GPA, and he is currently enrolled at Harrisburg Community College planning to study Human Services so that he can someday work abroad helping people access education so that they can have the same opportunities that he did.

Aung is an inspiration to all who know him.

About Essence of Humanity

The Essence of Humanity Award honors those who inspire the best in all of us, through the presentation of the award and also by elevating the narratives of the recipients. The program began in 2001 when business and community leaders in South-Central Pennsylvania established the award. The award is presented by participating organizations in collaboration with the Essence of Humanity program’s steering committee, which evaluates the nominations. For more information, contact Robin Stauffer, Executive Director, at 717-293-4498, or visit the website at www.essenceofhumanity.org.