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Sieler honored with inaugural USATF Milton Hershey Award


INDIANAPOLIS -- Jeannette Sieler of Tacoma, Washington, has been named as the first honoree of the USATF Milton Hershey Award, USA Track & Field and The Hershey Company announced Thursday.


Sieler will receive her award on Friday, July 3, at the USATF Hershey National Youth Outdoor Championships in Lisle, Illinois.


Created by the partnership between USATF and Hershey, the Milton Hershey Award annually will honor an individual whose volunteer contributions to youth track & field and fitness has positively affected the lives of young people.


“Our founder, Milton Hershey, started our company with a social purpose to support the development and well-being of young people,” said Bernie Banas, Vice President, Customer Innovation at The Hershey Company. “Jeannette Sieler embodies that same dedication, and it is an honor to present her with the first Milton Hershey Award.”


Sieler first became involved with Hershey’s Track & Field Games (HTFG) 30 years ago as a local meet organizer while working for the Pierce County Parks & Recreation Department. In 1992, she was selected to be a chaperone for the HTFG North American Final and had a key role in at least a dozen state meets before serving as the Washington State Chairperson for the program. Over the years, she has worked with tens of thousands of children through Hershey track programs and chaperoned children at the North American Final 17 times.


Sieler currently is Recreation Supervisor with Lacey Parks & Recreation, where she organizes the city’s special events and cultural classes. She continues to work each summer coordinating the Pierce County Park All Comers Track meets.


“I am so honored to be the first recipient of the Milton Hershey Award,” Sieler said. “I have such a great respect for Milton Hershey and all he stood for, and I admire the Hershey Company’s efforts to provide an opportunity for kids to be active and make healthy choices for the past 38 years. Partnering with USATF, I look forward to having the opportunity to provide kids a chance to Run, Jump, and Throw, discovering their potential and having fun.”


In 2014, Hershey ‘s Track & Field Games (HTFG) celebrated its final year as Hershey and USATF created RunJumpThrow (RJT), a youth activity program designed to get kids excited about physical movement. In the transition from a competition-based model to youth activity model, Sieler was a leader among HTFG volunteers in evolving the program, serving on an advisory committee that helped develop and hone RJT.


Sieler herself has become a RunJumpThrow event organizer and also is the meet director for one of USATF’s 2015 Future Stars Elite Meets. The Future Stars Meets program helps support community-based track meets, sharing the philosophy that had driven Hershey’s competitive program.


“Jeannette has been a tremendous resource to USATF and Hershey in developing RunJumpThrow,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “Her knowledge regarding the needs of children and the organizations serving them have helped lay the foundation for the program. Her enthusiastic adoption of USATF’s Future Stars Meets program further speaks to her dedication to this mission.”


For more information on RunJumpThrow, visit


For more information on Future Stars Meets, visit


For more information on the USATF Hershey Youth National Outdoor Championships, visit



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