Dasawn Gray gives back to the community as a way of dealing with his own personal heartaches, according to his mother, Louise Gray. (Photo by Jacquelyn McDonald)

Dasawn Gray gives back to the community as a way of dealing with his own personal heartaches, according to his mother, Louise Gray. (Photo by Jacquelyn McDonald)

Dasawn Gray, 15, is one of the most talented and versatile young men that Joey Hebner, who heads up the RAGS Block Club, ever remembers meeting.

RAGS, which represents residents of Renova, Aluvian, Glenwood and Sunnyside Streets, is one of the many entities in Hazelwood with a mission to enhance the quality of life for residents and the community. It is also one of the places where Gray is heavily involved as a volunteer, which includes cooking a good deal of the food for their fundraising events.

“His skills and talents are so many that it is hard to keep up with them,” Hebner says. “Not only does he do them, he does them all well. We recently held a chili dinner for a fundraiser, and he cooked all of the chili.”

Gray has made a profound impact on those who know him. His confident demeanor, mature sensibilities, superior entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to excellence in service makes him a stand out.

Connie Denio, one of his English teachers from Pittsburgh Mifflin PreK-8, gave an exuberant overview of his qualities.

“This young man, who has been through so much, has demonstrated a mastery of entrepreneurship that I have never witnessed in my 31 years of teaching,” Denio says. “He is always open to learning new things and has never backed away from an opportunity to grow. Once, he entered a hoagie-selling contest to raise money for the students to go to on an end-of-year trip. Dasawn sold so many hoagies that he not only made enough money for his own trip, he was able to make contributions to other students who needed more money.”

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