In high school he focused on the less fortunate, while in college he has put his energy into improving the Sunnyside area of Morgantown.
And, on Wednesday (July 21) Governor Joe Manchin recognized Lewallen’s dedication with the state’s highest service award. Lewallen was nominated for the Governor’s Service Award by Jim Hunt, executive director of the Sunnyside Up Project.
“I am very honored, not just for myself but for the Sunnyside community,” said Lewallen, a senior business management major from Alderson.
Lewallen first became involved in revitalizing the Sunnyside neighborhood when he was chief-of-staff of WVU’s Student Government Association. At that time, he spoke to Hunt about getting more students involved in improving the community.
“It is important to give the students ownership of the community. They need to recognize that it is not just a place to go to college, but it is their community and their neighborhood,” he said.
Lewallen organized several clean-up activities, started the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and has helped get students together to paint dumpsters in the area.
Over the past two years, Lewallen has noticed some significant change in the Sunnyside area and plans on continuing to encourage and provide opportunities for students to help make improvements.
After graduation, Lewallen plans to attend law school and use his degree to continue to serve his community.
The Governor’s Service Awards are presented in a variety of age groups including youth, young adult, adult, senior, national service, lifetime achievement, family and organization.