Patrick Carolan is passionate about improving the environment, helping the poor and making life better for those seeking to live the American dream.
For his efforts, the Stratford resident was honored at the White House.
Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, was among 12 people recognized at the White House as Champions of Change. The program was created by the White House as an opportunity to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
The 12 people chosen this year were recognized for their efforts in protecting the environment and communities from the effects of climate change.
Carolan, 61, has led the Franciscan Action Network for five years, working in Washington, D.C., while also working and living in Stratford. The organization is a grass-roots group amplifying the justice efforts of Franciscans and Franciscan-hearted people around the country.
Carolan, a 27-year Stratford resident who attends St. James Parish, said it was a great honor to be recognized along with other people of faith who are concerned about the nation’s environment. Carolan say he knows many of the other honorees through his work with FAN.
“I’m deeply honored and grateful for this recognition by the White House,” Carolan said, “and I’m even more excited to share the honor with so many other great faith leaders working on the issue of climate. It is my hope that our efforts will help bring greater awareness to the urgent need of all people to address the climate crisis.”
He was joined at the White House ceremony by his wife Stella and their daughter Jenna. While President Barack Obama was not on hand for Monday’s event, he spoke with the president about two years ago as part of his work with FAN.
Carolan said stopping negative changes to the environment is very important.
“What kind of a world do we want to leave our children and our grandchildren? I don’t want to look at my grandkids and have them say, ‘Why didn’t you do anything?’” he said.
Carolan hopes his recognition might encourage Stratford residents to come together and see what positive changes can be made. One of his big dreams is seeing solar panels on every church and town office building in order to harness more energy from the sun.
To find out more about all 12 Champions of Change, visit whitehouse.gov/champions.