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Jefferson Awards honorees receive medals for dedication to community

Jefferson Awards medal (WCIV)

Majestic views of the Lowcountry captivate almost everyone who visits here. But the people who live here make up the fabric of this unique and beautiful area.

On Wednesday, several of its most outstanding citizens were recognized.

Inside the Cooper River Room at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park was a gathering of special people who make a difference.

Their acts of courage, strength, positivity and goodwill were honored with a medal from the Jefferson Awards Foundation for public service.

"We wish we could give an award to all and we could send everyone to national,” said Quinn Hayes, resource development coordinator for the Jefferson Awards Foundation in South Carolina. “They all pull at our heartstrings, right?"

For the past year, ABC News 4's Dean Stephens featured each person - young and old - with their stories of compassion and contributions to the community.

Some are emotional. Others are lighthearted. But all are touching.

Emily Torchiana is an award recipient for helping people overcome mental illness. She says the honor has changed her life.

"I have this now network of people who had different missions. They didn't have the same mission as I did. But they wanted to help me in different ways to continue my mission to expand," Torchiana said.

Of the 11 people recognized, Nick Price was selected as a nominee for a National Jefferson Awards.

He overcame a near-deadly brain tumor. Now, he chairs a foundation devoted to support and providing resources for those with similar life-threatening afflictions.

"I'm truly honored. I look in that room and I see so many great people that have done amazing things. Like Dean Stephens says, 'they all found their niche,'” Price said. “And I found mine. And I want to be able to take this to the highest level. And I think this is a big, big step in doing so."

Nick Price will be one of two people representing South Carolina in Washington, D.C. for the national awards coming up in June.

To nominate someone for the Jefferson Awards or to read about past winners, click here.

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