Brian Hailes, 14, of Millville, Cache County, and three other youths were in the spotlight Thursday as their environmental postage stamps made a nationwide debut in Washington, D.C.
Held at The Mall, the event was attended by 2,000 youths, who saluted the young stamp artists and kicked off the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22.Hailes, a ninth-grader at South Cache Freshman Center in Hyrum, designed a stamp that features a young man planting a tree.
Melody Kiper, 10, Shreveport, La., chose beach cleanup as the subject of her stamp design. The idea for stamp design of Jennifer Michalove, 11, comes from her family home in Stonington, Conn., and the entry by Christy Millard, 13, Lakewood, Colo., shows the Earth soaking in a bathtub.
The four winning designs, which will appear on nearly 200 million U.S. postage stamps, netted prizes for each of the winners. Hailes, who would like to be an illustrator or cartoon animator when he graduates from college, earlier won a $3,000 savings bond and an additional trip to Washington.
In an earlier interview, the youth said he draws at least a couple of hours each day just because he likes to. It's a talent he dabbled in as soon as he could hold a crayon, his mother, Cynthia Hailes, said. She and her husband, J. Charles Hailes, accompanied their son to the nation's capital.
When Brian's winning design was announced (in a national contest sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service and McDonald's restaurants) last November, he was honored with a framed version of his drawing, a $100 savings bond and a certificate for two years worth of free food at McDonald's.
The gifts were presented for young Hailes being among 102 finalists from across the country.
"We're so proud of him. All of Millville is excited for Brian. This is not something that happens every day," said Millville Postmaster Jean Parker.
Postal officials said it has been more than a decade since a U.S. stamp was designed by a youth.
The environmental stamps will only be available Thursday in Washington, D.C., but will be available at post offices across the country beginning Friday.
The Postal Service, Millville City and McDonald's will join to celebrate Hailes' achievement on Saturday, April 29, which has been declared Brian Hailes Day. Millville residents will honor the teen at a 10 a.m. ceremony in the Millville City Park.
A special environmental postmark, designed by Cynthia Hailes, will be shown at the event and will be available at the Millville Post Office for 30 days.
In honor of Brian, 200 seedling trees will be given away, and a larger tree will be planted in Millville City Park.