LAKE PLACID - On Friday, Lake Placid resident Morgan Tracey was one of 12 extraordinary leaders who were honored by the White House as a Champion of Change. Leaders like Tracey have leveraged their national service experience in AmeriCorps to become influential in their careers and in their local communities.
In all, 150 AmeriCorps leaders from 25 states visited the White House for a day-long briefing, and Tracey was among the dozen who were singled out as "Champions of Change."
Tracey, who is currently training at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center in the United States National Skeleton Program, served in AmeriCorps NCCC after graduating from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. While with AmeriCorps NCCC, Tracey tackled some of the toughest challenges facing the nation, helping strengthen communities in which she served.
These experiences ignited a passion for service in disaster relief and fire management. After her 10 months in AmeriCorps NCCC, Tracey has been a member of an elite Interagency Hotshot firefighting crew, graduated from law school, passed the Ohio bar, and recently began training in the sport of skeleton with the hope of one day representing the United States in the Winter Olympic Games.
She continues to be a leader, inspiring others to look towards service as a pathway to opportunity. Tracey credits her time as an AmeriCorps member for influencing her future employment choices
"People frequently ask me why I've chosen to pursue these diverse, challenging endeavors," Tracey said. "My answer to this question is always the same. I pursue them because I want to take the path less traveled, and my experience in AmeriCorps gave me the courage to do so. Most importantly, AmeriCorps taught me following my heart could positively impact the lives of others."
The Champions of Change program was created to honor ordinary Americans doing great work in their communities. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
Tracey is from Champion, Ohio. As an AmeriCorps member, she helped buidt homes for low income families in Blythe, Calif. She also worked within the community on fire safety with the United States Forest Service in Pollock Pines, Calif. While in Astoria, Oregon, she worked with Clatsop Community Action to restore a historic building for community use and with the local food bank.
Tracey also prepared taxes for the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program in Phoenix, Az. and with the Boys and Girls Club in Pasadena, Calif. After AmeriCorps she spent summers working with the Forest Service as a wildland firefighter and a senior firefighter on the Eldorado Interagency Hotshot Crew. In the winters, she went to law school and in 2010 passed the bar exam.
Currently, Morgan is part of the United States National Skeleton Program training at the OTC with her sights on Sochi Russia and Pyeongchang, South Korea.