ST. CLOUD, Minn. –
Emmanuel Oppong, a St. Cloud man, and an immigrant from Ghana, West Africa was one of 24 people to receive the 2017 Bush Fellowship.
Oppong works for the St. Cloud Mayor’s Office as the community engagement coordinator for the city of St. Cloud.
Dave Kleis, St. Cloud Mayor hired Oppong about a year ago.
629 people applied for the award, and it was announced in early March that Oppong was one of the winners.
“It’s a well deserved honor, and a great tribute to his ability,” said Kleis.
The Bush Fellowship identifies people with great potential, and true leadership qualities. People from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota are eligible to apply.
As part of winning the award, Oppong was part of a 2-year grant program that gives up to $100,000. He is using the funds for personal and professional development. He also wants to raise awareness about mental illness.
Oppong was in a meeting when he saw the email, and had to hold it together until he was done.
“The first thing I saw was congratulations, and when I saw that I was like ‘wow,'” said Oppong.
He applied for the award last year so he knew what to expect coming into the process this year.
Oppong says that other people are the reason why he won the award, and says that mentors such as Kleis have helped him get to where he is at today.
“He provided an opportunity to work for the city that i’ve grown to love,” said Oppong.
Oppong sees himself representing a lot of different groups including minorities, socially disenfranchised, and the underrepresented communities living in St. Cloud.
While Oppong accepts his leadership position, he says that he has to help himself first before he can help other people.
Oppong says he is looking forward to continuing his journey, and making a difference in the community. He also wants to thank those that have supported him along the way, and encourages others to apply for the award.