Air Force’s Dylewski a nominee for Hockey Humanitarian Award
Air Force senior Chris Dylewski is one of 18 nominees for the 2016 BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award.
The award recognizes college hockey’s finest citizen — a student-athlete who makes significant contributions not only to his or her team, but also to the community-at-large through leadership in volunteerism.
The 2016 finalists will be announced in February, with the recipient named on Friday, April 8 at the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.
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.
A Colorado Springs native, Dylewski was presented with the Spirit of the Springs award for his exemplary community service and achievements, on Dec. 1, by Colorado Springs major John Suthers.
Dylewski founded a non-profit company, RISE, Inc., that looks to develop the skills of ethical and inspirational leadership in young people who have a passion for serving their community. RISE accomplishes this mission by supporting young people through the process of running their own community service projects, and providing a mentoring, advisory, and support program to build these skills in the young person along the way. The company places an emphasis on supporting under-privileged young people. One RISE project was a Cadet Wing shoe drive that generated more than 900 pairs of shoes that were donated to needy families in Colorado Springs – the project is now an annual effort.
In the summer of 2015, Dylewski was one of four cadets from the Air Force Academy to travel to Washington D.C., New York and Poland to study the holocaust as part of his extensive program of studying military ethics and bringing awareness to genocide and mass atrocities.
He founded two cadet clubs, Operation Safe and the Genocide and Mass Atrocity Awareness Club. Operation Safe is committed to humanitarian issues and coordinates among branches that focus on specific issues like sexual trafficking to ensure that USAFA is a community where awareness spreads to maximum extent among those interested in these issues. The Genocide and Mass Atrocity Awareness Club has over 50 cadet members to help bring awareness to these tragic events.
Dylewski was instrumental in the Wounded Warrior sled hockey team practicing at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. Dylewski, along with several other cadets, would spend Sunday assisting with the sled hockey team, doing everything from unpacking and packing equipment for practices, helping fix/adjust the sleds and even helping coach on the ice.
As a sophomore, inspired by a classmate who committed suicide, he founded a program that produces an annual Guide to Cadet Life for freshman cadets to help them adjust to Academy life. The publication has been produced for three straight years and has proven to be a valuable tool for getting acclimated to a difficult freshman year at the Air Force Academy.
Dylewski has been taken the lead on several community outreach programs with the hockey team. From assisting with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk for the Cure to various trips to elementary schools, reading to children and talking about the importance of education. He has also volunteered with the Blue Star Mothers of American, the Special Olympics programs in several states, a number of elementary schools and nursing homes, the Oklahoma Aquarium, Community centers, and has participated in cleanup projects like the one which targeted the Air Force Academy Memorial Wall, honoring graduates to fall in the line of duty.
Dylewski took the lead on working with a young boy, Jason, who suffers from a rare skeletal disease. Dylewski spent a considerable amount of time with Jason and his family, making them a part of the Falcon hockey family, bringing them to practices and game, visiting his school and helping to brighten the days for the eight-year old boy who has had to overcome many challenges in his life.
Militarily, Dylewski has held the highest possible military rank and position in each of the first three cadet years, including a stint as Cadet Wing Command Chief, where he was directly responsible for 3,000 of his fellow officer candidates. This year, Dylewski has taken on the role of Squadron Character Officer, where he oversees all of the community service and character development activities of a 100-person cadet squadron. He is also Chief Editor of the Academy Literary Journal Icarus and leads a Mellon Grant-funded initiative to bring together military cadets and civilian college students for a dialogue on civilian-military relations, the Democratic Dialogue Project.
In the realm of international humanitarian work, Dylewski has travelled to Juarez, Mexico to assist with building a home in an intensely impoverished area, providing much-needed adequate housing for four families. While in China on the language immersion program, he volunteered in the Jiangsu Province Hospital. He also volunteered in the town of Oświęcim (Auschwitz), Poland to restore a Jewish cemetery that the community (which now includes Jewish residents), have failed to upkeep.
The 18 nominees for the 2016 Hockey Humanitarian Award are: Kyle Criscuolo, Sr., F, Harvard; Collin Delia, So., G, Merrimack; Chris Dylewski, Sr., G, Air Force; Michael Ferrantino, Sr., F, Michigan State; David Friedmann, Sr, F, Robert Morris; Connor Gorman, Sr, F, Plattsburgh; Sebastien Gingras, Sr., D, Union; Tyler Heinonen, Jr, F, Michigan Tech; Jake Heisinger, Jr., F, Curry; Emily Loebs, Sr., D, St. Michael’s; Jamie Murray, Sr., G, Babson; Morgan Richardson, Sr., D, Cornell; Eli Riddle, Sr., D, Concordia (Wis.); Alison Rolandelli, Sr, D, Brown; Andy Ryan, Sr., D, Notre Dame; Austin Sevalrud, Sr., D, Alaska-Anchorage; Kevin Tansey, Sr, D, Clarkson; Cara Zubko, Sr., D, Ohio State.