LEWES, Del. – A Lewes man and former Naval pilot was honored Monday night at the Lewes Rehoboth Rotary Club meeting for his work as a mentor to Cape Henlopen High School students.
Jim Barrett has been mentoring local students for eight years, and was surprised by the award.
State Representative Steve Smyck presented Barrett with a House Resolution commemorating his contribution to the Lewes community.
"I've had tremendous highs and a few lows along the way, but this is a chance to help others," Barrett said. "That's one of the things I tell them, pay it forward, reach out and be there for somebody else."
One student in particular joined Barrett on stage. Thomas Ott, who is a star athlete at Cape Henlopen, is one of Barrett's mentees, and will be attending Barrett's alma mater, the Naval Academy, in the Fall.
Ott's father used to be the school's football coach before being sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2011 after he pleaded guilty to charges of second and fourth degree rape.
Barrett helped Ott overcome the challenges that came from this.
"I've just done a great job of surrounding myself with good people and then all these good people have helped me get through all the adversity I've faced," Ott said. "Mr. Barrett is one of those good people that helped me get through all this adversity."
"I've been real proud of Thomas and the way he's responded to a difficult situation," Barrett explained. "One of the things I talk to people about is to do the next right thing and Thomas did that in his life already."
Ott and other rotary members at the event said Barrett more than deserves the honor and has helped, and will continue to help, many high school students.
Barrett said he was surprised and honored by the recognition.
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