A seventh-grader at Pine Middle School who volunteers her time at the VA Medical Center is being honored as Nevada's winner of the Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award.
Leigh Anne Troppe, 12, said visiting the veterans makes her happy and allows her to learn about what life was like decades ago in the military oversees.
Honored at a ceremony on Friday, she said she had no goals of winning the national award, which is given to a student who shows special ability in academics, the arts or leadership.
"When I was writing the essay, I thought, `Wouldn't that be nice if I won?' But I wasn't expecting it," Leigh Anne said.
"It doesn't matter if you're helping yourself, it really matters what the other end is receiving."
The distinguished student awards are named after Nicholas Green, a gifted student who was killed at age 7 in a 1994 drive-by shooting while vacationing with his family in Italy.
The National Association for Gifted Children funds the awards and has recognized one student in each state since 1998.
In addition to the recognition, a $500 U.S. savings bond and a certificate of excellence is included. Leigh Anne said she plans to give $200 of it to the VA and $100 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars because both organizations are responsible for her recognition.
Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., presented the award to Troppe for her work with those in need, especially veterans.
"It's a remarkable statement for someone her age," Gibbons said.
Sandy Belongia, Leigh Anne's sixth-grade teacher last year at Elizabeth Lenz Elementary School, nominated her for the award. Leigh Anne then wrote an essay to accompany the entry form.