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Brotherton honored for volunteer efforts

Unicoi County High School student Leah Brotherton displays the Governor’s Volunteer Star Award she received in recognition of her numerous efforts to help others. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

One Unicoi County student is being rewarded for her hours of community service by Governor Bill Lee.

Leah Brotherton, who is a UCHS cheerleader, received a Governor’s Volunteer Star Award and had dinner with Lee on Sunday, Feb. 9.

Brotherton, who is also known as Miss Appalachian Highlands, was nominated for the prestigious award from her pageant instructor, Tiffany Porter.

“I have been working with Leah for three years and Leah is a teen role model and leader in her community,” Porter said. “Her community service is outstanding. She has donated over 20,000 items to the Isaiah 117 House for foster children in need. Her resume was submitted to receive the Governor’s Volunteer Star Award and she was chosen based on her community service and volunteerism in East Tennessee.”

According to Brotherton, all of her hard work goes to one simple cause.

“My platform is ‘Trash to Treasure: No More Trash Bags,” Brotherton said. “I was taken out of foster care when I was 14 months and officially adopted by my wonderful parents, Tommy and Tammy Brotherton, at age 3. When they got me, I had nothing, didn’t even have shoes and there are so many children in foster care that go with nothing or have all of their belongings in black trash bags. My job is to replace those trash bags with duffel bags with items they can use such as clothing items, personal hygiene items and a stuffed animal so they can have something they can love and care for.”

Brotherton has volunteered and raised numerous donations for such organizations and causes such as: more than 2,000 hours volunteering to various organizations; raising more than 21,000 items donated to the Santa Train and Salvation Army Angel Tree; raised more than 750 pairs of jeans in donation to Season of Hope for their back to school drive; served as an ambassador for Season of Hope’ raised more than $600 dollars a year to Kenya Africa to help with child care; raised more than $2,000 in donations for Isaiah 117 House; volunteered to advocate for children in foster care through Cap the Gap and Isaiah 117 House, as well as many others.

For Brotherton, it is often difficult to find time to balance her time but she never misses an assignment.

“My grades are good, I hope to apply to Yale and Harvard for college,” Brotherton said.

According to Porter, Brotherton is unstoppable when she has a goal.

“Leah is a determined and hardworking individual that sets goals and she gets those goals accomplished,” Porter said. “As an East Tennessee County Coordinator for the Governor and Volunteer Tennessee I am proud and honored that Leah Brotherton is this year’s recipient for Unicoi County.”

For Brotherton, the hard work would not be possible without her team.

“I am so thankful for my pageant instructor, Tiffany Porter, my wonderful mom and my amazing father, and all of those that volunteer and donate,” Brotherton said.

Brotherton is preparing for the Miss Outstanding Teen Competition in Gallatin, which takes place on March 21. To follow Leah’s journey or to donate, please follow Leah Brotherton on Facebook at Leah Brotherton and at Miss Appalachian Highland Outstanding 2020 Leah Brotherton.