by: contributed photo Emilie Williams belongs to the Junior Catholic Daughters of America at St. Henry Catholic Church in Gresham and has won an award for her service.

Three young East County Catholics are being recognized with awards for their service to their church.

Two girls who attend St. Henry Catholic Church in Gresham, Grace Maxey, 11, and Emilie Williams, 13, have been honored with 'Family of God' awards for their work with the Junior Catholic Daughters of America.

Meanwhile, Dillon Spotts, a Gresham area resident, a fifth grader and Cub Scout at St. Therese School in Northeast Portland, has won a Parvuli Dei (Children of God) award, which recognizes his commitment to God and country, according to his father, Dan Spotts.

Junior daughter

Williams says she enjoys working with the nine-member group at her parish, and has helped out with such projects as parish dinners, feeding the homeless and praying for others.

'It's been nice,' Williams says, noting she is the group's secretary. 'I get to meet other people who are really my age.'

Her father, Michael Williams, says he and Emilie's mother, Tammy, are pleased with how their child's participation in Junior Catholic Daughters has helped her grow as a person.

'It's actually done wonders for her confidence,' he said. 'She's kind of blossomed out of it, so in that respect it's really good.'

Patricia Samodell, the group's adult leader, said the girls range in age from 10 to 14, with membership open to females between the ages of 6 and 18. She says she's impressed with all the girls in the group, including Emilie and Grace, who are spiritually minded beyond their years.

'It's great that they have it at this age because it's something that can carry through the rest of their lives,' she says.

Awards ceremony

The three East County Catholics are among dozens of young people who will be formally recognized for their service to their church at a 2 p.m. Mass on Sunday, Jan. 29, in St. Mary Cathedral, 1716 N.W. Davis St.

Archbishop John G. Vlazny of Portland and the Archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting will present Catholic Scouting Emblems and other awards to young men and women from across western Oregon and Clark County, Washington. A reception will follow.

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