The White Salmon Lions Club has chosen its first world traveler. White Salmon resident Ami Vukalich, daughter of Frank and Kathy Vukalich, is the first recipient of the "Lions Overseas Experience" award.
The 23-year-old Columbia High School graduate stated in her application that she wants to visit Norway -- from where her mother's family immigrated to this country. Other than a short visit to Mexico, Vukalich has not previously traveled outside the United States.
The award was established from a grant to the Lions Club made by Cam and Barbara Thomas, of Underwood to make it possible for local young adults to benefit from an opportunity to travel outside the continent of North America.
"Ami's application was far and away the winner among the other applicants," explained Thomas, White Salmon Lions member and project chair.
Thomas said both Janet McCutcheon, assistant principal at White Salmon High School, and Jerry Lewis, interim superintendent of the White Salmon Valley School District, responded to the announcement of the award by saying that the former CHS student is a "very deserving recipient of the travel award."
Vukalich will have until March 1, 2010, to embark on her journey. The White Salmon Lions Club will be paying for a round trip airline ticket to Oslo, Norway, and will furnish Vukalich with $1,000 cash to cover her other travel expenses. Hazel Philips Travel of The Dalles will handle the ticketing and provide other benefits to make her travel experience memorable.
On her return, the Lions Club will provide an opportunity for Vukalich to report on her travel experiences in a public forum, at a time and location to be determined.
"The White Salmon Lions Club congratulates Ami, and hopes that her journey will be very educational," read a statement from the Lions. "The Lions would also like to thank the selection committee, and the Jake Anderson of the Klickitat County Young Leaders Association for their assistance."