La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Each month we honor someone in our community with the Jefferson Award. While every winner is unique, this months winner is especially unique because of her age.
"The Jefferson Awards" is the Nobel prize for public service. It's a prestigious award that honors volunteers in the community.
This month we recognize Breanna Halling, the youngest person in our area to win the award.
"You are nice and I love you cause you're nice." This is typical reaction 13 year old Breanna Halling gets when she's volunteering at Riverfront, a day program for adults with disabilities. But this almost didn't happen. At first, Breanna was told she wasn't allowed to volunteer because of her age. That was until the volunteer coordinator saw how she was with the clients there.
Breanna is an old soul, having experienced the loss of her brother, Dominik, who was just 17. "I kind of felt bad because we would fight over the little things and that day we were fighting over not holding the door open for my mom so we were kinda fighting about that then. I saw him out of the corner of my eye leave cause I was getting the dog a dog treat And he left at 2:30. At 3:30 we found out."
Breanna uses the experience to help others. She says it helped her be more compassionate towards others.
Verda Grabinski runs a daycare. She and Breanna met when they were neighbors. Verda says Breanna had a special way with kids and just about everyone she meets.
"I just think I'm here to help and stuff and be there for people."