Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Alexandria, Virginia resident Andrew Rodriguez, on his receipt of the highly-esteemed Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) 2011 James E. Sullivan Award. The award honors the nation's outstanding amateur athlete and has annually been presented since 1930. Finalists were selected from personal nominations following a review by the AAU Sullivan Award Executive Committee. Renowned recipients of the Award include: Mark Spitz, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Florence Joyner, Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps, J.J. Redick, Tim Tebow, and Shawn Johnson, just to name a few.
As you may know, the AAU is dedicated to promoting amateur athletics throughout this nation and is one of the largest non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the U.S. For over 100 years, AAU has remained committed to helping young people develop as both athletes and as valued citizens of their communities. The Sullivan Award, which is in its 82nd year, making it even older than the Heisman trophy, salutes amateur athletes who not only succeed in sports, but who also exhibit strong moral character in their daily lives.
In order to be considered, Sullivan Award nominees must demonstrate talent, excellent character, leadership and sportsmanship-- all qualities that Andrew has certainly surpassed during his career at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He recently received the Army's first Campbell Trophy and the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete award, which recognizes the nation's best in combined academic success, community leadership, and performance on the football field. Andrew currently carries a 4.14 GPA as a mechanical engineering major and ranks third academically in his class of 1,052 cadets.
In addition to his exemplar character and scholarly record, Andrew is a senior linebacker on Army's football team and delivered 140 career tackles in 23 career games. Andrew suffered what many thought was a career-ending injury and missed the entire 2010 football season, but through determination and hard work, recovered and returned for the 2011 season as team captain.
Andrew is an outstanding leader both on the field and in the classroom. He has been very active in giving back to his community and honoring our military by spending many hours visiting the injured at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He follows his father, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Forces Command David Rodriguez, and sister Amy, in a family tradition at West Point.
Mr. Speaker, I am honored to ask my colleagues to join AAU and myself in congratulating Andrew on his outstanding achievement. We can all see that he is an exceptional, strong leader, and I very much look forward to following his continued success. It is truly an honor to represent Andrew and his family in the United States Congress, and I sincerely thank them for their commitment to our nation.
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