Chef Chad Houser, executive director and founder of Cafe Momentum, the inspirational restaurant in downtown Dallas that employs juvenile offenders, has been named one of the 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Americans, awarded by the United States Junior Chambers. Houser joins a group that includes past recipients such as Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley and Wayne Newton.
For more than 75 years, the United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) has recognized the 10 men and women between 18 and 40 who best exemplify the highest attributes of the nation's emerging generation.
"Every year, the United States Junior Chamber recognizes the accomplishments of 10 individuals who are truly outstanding," said Jennifer Ray, president of the U.S. Jaycees. "Through an intense judging process, these 10 individuals being honored ... are truly accomplished in their fields, in giving back to their communities and in promoting that service to humanity is the best work of life."
Houser is part of a group that includes an Olympic athlete and a fighter pilot. The full list is as follows:
- Catherine Draeger, 36, founder, Shielded Hearts Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Dallas Eaton, 26, co-founder/CEO, United Luv Billings, Montana
- Dr. Michael Feilmeier, 36, ophthalmologist, Omaha, Nebraska
- Missy Franklin, 19, U.S. Olympic athlete, Centennial, Colorado
- Ronda Zelezny-Green, 31, Ph.D. student, Mobile Learning Expert London
- Major Tucker Hamilton, 35, experimental fighter test pilot, United States Air Force Arlington, Virginia
- Chad Houser, 39, executive director/executive chef, Cafe Momentum Dallas, Texas
- Bivian “Sonny” Lee III, 33, founder/president, Son of Saint Foundation New Orleans, Louisiana
- Brad McKee, 29, co-founder/president, Disposable Heroes Project Hammond, Louisiana
- Special Agent Emmanuel Merhan, 37, federal law enforcement officer/special investigator, United States Air Force, Germany
The Ten Outstanding Young Americans program (TOYA) is one of the oldest and most prestigious recognition programs in America. Previous honorees include Bill Clinton (1979), John F. Kennedy (1946), Dick Cheney (1976), Kurt Warner (2010), Wayne Newton (1977), Gale Sayers (1969), Elvis Presley (1970), Michele Tafoya (2001) and Ruth Riley (2014).
The recipients will be honored at the 77th annual black-tie awards ceremony on March 28 in Nashville.