Air Force senior Chris Dylewski was presented the Spirit of the Springs award for his exemplary community service and achievements, Tuesday, Dec. 1, by Colorado Springs Major John Suthers.
“When I read the nomination package for Cadet Dylewski, I was impressed with Cadet Dylewski’s accomplishments in academics, athletics and community service,” said Mayor Suthers. “In all of his activities, he has had a positive impact on our community.”
A goaltender on the hockey team, Dylewski’s achievements in the Cadet Wing and in the Colorado Springs community are unparalleled. From being a double major in international history and political science major and a Division I athlete, to founding a non-profit company and two cadet clubs, Dylewski’s achievements are more than impressive.
“Christopher, as a player has not gotten a lot of time on the ice on Fridays and Saturdays this season, but he is a vital member of our team who sets the tone for the team Monday through Thursday. He sets the tone at practice. He sets the tone in the weight room and he sets the tone in meetings,” said Falcons head coach Frank Serratore. “On our last away game trip, which was at Sacred Heart, I found him tutoring our team’s freshmen. Trust me, that’s not the first time that’s happened.”
A Colorado Springs native, he is the founder of RISE Inc., a non-profit company that supports young people who want to run community service projects.
“He founded the non-profit corporation RISE with the sole goal of supporting young people through the process of leading their own community service projects, with a particular emphasis on underprivileged young people in Colorado Springs,” said Cadet Patrick O’Shea, who nominated his classmate for the award. “That organization has already donated countless thousands of dollars via multiple hundreds of man-hours. RISE unites young people in Colorado Springs that have identified a need and possess the will to make a difference with extremely experienced leaders, from Colorado Springs and across the country. One RISE project, a Cadet Wing shoe drive, has in its two-year existence donated approximately 900 pairs of new or gently used shoes to the needy of Colorado Springs,” said O’Shea.
Dylewski has founded two cadet clubs, Operation Safe and Genocide and Mass Atrocity Awareness and was a founding member of the Academy Scholars Program Leadership Panel and the Wing Tutor program. Dylewski was also instrumental in the Wounded Warrior sled hockey team at the Cadet Ice Arena.
He was on the Dean’s Aces List, one of eight total cadets to have a 4.0 Academic and Physical GPA in the spring, 2014. He earned the Aces honor again in spring 2015. This past summer, he led American Service Academies Program that took cadets from West Point, Annapolis, the Coast Guard and the Air Force Academy to Washington D.C., New York and Poland to study the Holocaust.
Dylewski was humble about the award, despite hearing the accolades from multiple individuals, and at an event where he received the Spirit of Springs Award before the assembled Cadet Wing.
“It’s so gratifying to receive the award, because I’ve been given so much by the community, and I’m just trying to give as much as I can back. It reminds me why I chose to serve as a career,” said Dylewski. “An award like this isn’t about me. It’s about the people I’ve gotten the chance to work with, to help make a difference.”
This is fifth Spirit of the Springs award presented to the Air Force Academy or Academy personnel.