David Tuckman got quite an introduction to Washington politics Tuesday.
The 23-year-old North Hollywood resident saw the nation’s capital for the first time when he appeared with 23 other young people from across the country at a Capitol Building ceremony honoring winners of the Congressional Award. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and actor Jimmy Smits led the list of scheduled attendees.
Rep. Howard Berman (D-Mission Hills), Tuckman’s congressman, presented the Grant High School graduate with the award, which salutes achievement in volunteerism, personal development, physical fitness and exploration. Anyone 23 years or younger who devotes at least 840 hours to those areas and completes an interview and application process is eligible for the honor.
“The Congressional Award program helps youth on a noncompetitive basis to help better themselves and their community,” said Tuckman, 23, during a breathless break in the day. “I feel very proud and honored. It means so much to my life.”
An Eagle Scout in Troop 20, Tuckman has served for several years as an LAPD Police Explorer Scout. In the latter role, he has received commendations for drug-abuse education programming, emergency assistance after the 1994 Northridge earthquake and other community service.
Applied to the physical fitness and exploration components of the Congressional Award were two summers Tuckman spent at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Pride & Guts training program at Camp Pendleton and his record as co-captain of the track and field team at Grant High.
Tuckman is one year shy of a bachelor’s degree at UCLA, according to his mother, Rosalind Tuckman, who said she suspects his graduation will not end his string of achievements.
“For a long time now, he’s been doing a lot of community service,” she said. “He’s been getting a lot of awards.”