President Bush to honor volunteer

The Hillsborough County 16-year-old has spent two summers helping supervise kids.

Published May 1, 2007

GIBSONTON - Farm boy meets president.

It's an American-as-apple-pie story that's taking place today. In a pressed olive-green junior ROTC uniform fresh from the dry cleaner, 16-year-old Daniel Middaugh will salute the commander in chief.

President Bush will award Middaugh, an East Bay High School sophomore who says "yes, sir" to every affirmative question, the President's Volunteer Service Award at MacDill Air Force Base.

Middaugh spent the last two summers - more than 600 hours - working for the Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department helping supervise kids in summer programs. He is one of the school district's top four students doing community service, a major reason the White House chose him for the award.

"He's a very respectable young man, " mother Dee Fletcher said.

Daniel Middaugh lives on an almost 8-acre farm with cows, goats, chickens, rabbits and peacocks. His chores include feeding them. He prefers the cows because they're easygoing.

He and his brother, Jonathan Middaugh, 15, canoe on a pond on the property when they're not shooting paintballs or riding all-terrain vehicles.

Of the four dogs on the farm, Daniel Middaugh's favorite is Scooby, one of two boxers. He has a 4.24 grade point average, and is shooting for the Air Force Academy or another military institute. He dreams of a military career, of "doing all that I can, " not just going in and out after four years.

He plays spring football for East Bay and wants to play defensive back. His favorite NFL player is Peyton Manning, he said, because "he's got good goals and morals."

Middaugh doesn't know what he'll say to the president. He's not sure, he said.

But he knows one thing he has to do beforehand.

His mother gave him a chore: hang some field fence on the farm.

Justin George can be reached at 813 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.