Ashburn’s Shreyaa Venkat was among three people recognized at halftime during the Thanksgiving Day football game between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions by America250 and the NFL for the 2021 America250 Awards.
America250 is the celebration of the United States’ 250th anniversary in 2026, led by the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission created by Congress in 2016. The 2021 class of America250 Awards is the organization’s first, and was created to recognize Americans who “exemplify the intangible qualities of the American spirit” according to the organization.
Venkat was recognized alongside Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher D. Braman of Orange County, CA, recognized for his actions at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 and Lilburn Police Sgt. Almedin Ajanovic of Dacula, GA who was recognized for his actions leading two people to safety from a train derailment and fire. Each of the winners received two roundtrip tickets, accommodations to the Thanksgiving Day NFL game, and were presented with a trophy designed by Bennett Awards, a women- and family-owned business in Placerville, CA.
Venkat was named Community Champion, which recognizes an individual who embodies the everyday courage of our country’s extraordinary citizens who take heroic action to make local communities better, according to America250. Now a 19-year-old student at Georgetown, as a high schooler she founded NEST4US, a nonprofit dedicated to tackling global hunger, quality education, and other societal issues. The organization has had more than 3,000 volunteers who have impacted tens of thousands of people in 22 countries across six continents.
“It is truly an honor and privilege to be selected as the 2021 America250 Award Community Champion. As a young female entrepreneur of color, I’m proud to foster a community built upon mutual respect, inclusivity, empathy and kindness that empowers others to take action and build a better, brighter future for our nation and beyond,” Venkat stated.
“As we gather with our families and loved ones on Thanksgiving, it is an honor to stand alongside the NFL and express our gratitude to these three extraordinary heroes who inspire the American spirit in all of us,” said America250 President and CEO Joseph Daniels. “Congratulations to Shreyaa Venkat, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Braman and Police Sgt. Almedin Ajanovic who make me very proud to be an American.”
America250’s commemoration period began in 2020, culminates on July 4, 2026, and officially concludes in 2027. For more information, visit america250.org.