Awards of Excellence

Awards of Excellence logo

Awards of Excellence

Awards of Excellence Applications are now being accepted for 2021. These awards are given to students who demonstrate good character, balanced achievement, and outstanding commitment to the community. Eligible students are graduating high school seniors who have a parent who is a first responder, paid or non paid, that works in Douglas, Sarpy or Pottawattamie County, in Nebraska and Iowa. Read below for more details on the program.

Applications must be mailed to the First Responders Foundation and postmarked on or before March 1, 2021.  Applications must be downloaded, filled out, and mailed back to the Foundation.  There is no option for an online application submission.  For questions please email  

Winners will be announced on March 22, 2021.  

Click here for an application.

Awards of Excellence Recipients Connor and Tony RinnTo read about Connor and Tony Rinn, recipients of the 2020 Awards of Excellence click here.

Awards of Excellence logo

Behind the Award

Every spring the Foundation presents Awards of Excellence to students who demonstrate good character, balanced achievement, and outstanding commitment to the community. The recipients of this prestigious award receive $500 and recognition at an annual Awards of Excellence reception.

The First Responders Foundation started the Awards of Excellence in 2017 to acknowledge outstanding high school seniors who are children of first responders.

Every year the accomplishments of these exceptional students are remarkable. The award is not given to those with just good grades, but to students who are involved in their school and community, family activities, who volunteer and work with nonprofits, and have impressive work histories. These students have exceeded expectations and give society hope and confidence for the future.

Part of the mission of the First Responders Foundation is to serve and honor all first responders and their families. Most parents don’t wear bullet-proof vests or fire-resistant clothing and breathing apparatus or take life and death calls when at work.

Children of first responders live a different life not knowing if their loved one will return home at the end of their shift or what emotional stress they may endure. They also learn to live with parents that often miss special events and holidays, because the life of a public servant is 24/7. The Foundation believes it takes a special person to become a first responder and their whole family shares in their service and sacrifice.


Students must:

  • be graduating high school seniors
  • have “C” or higher grade point average
  • have a parent who is a first responder, paid or non-paid, that works in Douglas, Sarpy or Pottawattamie Counties in NE and IA

Demonstrate good character, balanced achievement, outstanding commitment to and interest in furthering their success.

The recipients will be selected by the First Responders Foundation Awards of Excellence Selection Committee. If selected they must agree to allow the First Responders Foundation to use their name and photo. There are a limited number of Awards of Excellence awards.

How to Apply

Applications must be printed and mailed to the First Responders Foundation.
Students are required to submit an application with supporting documentation detailing:

  • High school activities
  • Achievements and awards
  • Community involvement
  • Accomplishments
  • Personal essay for the selection committee to learn more about the applicant. Please include future career and/or vocation goals.

Past Recipients


Awards of Excellence and the awards ceremony are made possible thanks to the following donors who fully-funded one or more of the 2020 awards:

  • Farmers Insurance
  • Nelson Murphy Ins. & Investments, LLC
  • Northwest Rotary
  • Chuck and Karen Sederstrom
  • Bob and Betsy Nelson
  • Keith and Stephanie Basham
  • Tim and Jonna Holland
  • Carol Stolp
  • Al and Terri Batschelet
  • Susan Wier
  • College World Series of Omaha, Inc.

Brought to you in part by:

Farmers Insurance logo
Rotary Club of Omaha Northwest logo
Nelson Murphy Insurance & Investments logo
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