An award can go a long way.
That was the case for one first grade student at Thompson Elementary School. Friday morning, Journey Harnesk was given an award by the Rockford Fire Department for a drawing she did for a fire prevention poster contest.
It was a surprise for Journey that could not have come at a better time, as the budding artist's father, Judd, just passed away last month.
Because of her dad's passing, Journey was not able to be recognized for her art at a recent ceremony. That is way the fire department came to the school Friday and surprised her with her award, in front of the whole school.
"She participated in the fire prevention poster contest. Out of that, she was second place for all of the hundreds of first graders who submitted posters," says Tim Morris with the Rockford Fire Department.
With the loss still fresh in their family, Journey's mother and grandparents were all there, able to see her get recognized. It was a message that goes much deeper for them than simply a plaque on a wall.
"It was wonderful. She's just a ray of sunshine," says Journey's grandmother Lu Ann Harnesk.
It was a special recognition that comes during a time when Journey hasn't had a lot to smile about.