Thirteen-year-old lives a careful life.
He is highly allergic to beef, dairy, tree nuts and many other foods. Although low immunities coupled with chronic asthma keep Carey out of public school, his life is all but boring.
A typical day for Carey, who is a youth ambassador for the American Lung Association, may consist of speaking engagements to spread the word about the organization's Fighting for Air initiative. He has been active in helping organize annual ALA benefit walks in San Diego, and hopes to bring a walk to southwest Riverside County soon.
It's his day-to-day work toward educating others that Carey's mother, Vikita Poindexter, believes got him nominated along with two others for the Citizen of the Year.
"May is Asthma Awareness Month, so he is really focusing on people who suffer from lung disease, to bring awareness to it," Vikita said. "He is saying, 'here are some of the challenges and some of the things we have to do just to breathe every day.'"
This month and next month, Carey is scheduled to be recognized by the city councils of Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore for his work toward asthma awareness, Vikita said.
An awards dinner is set for June 9 at Monteleone Meadows in Murrieta, according to Rhonda Warner of the Chamber. Those nominated for Citizen of the Year also include Adria Poindexter (of no relation to Carey) of Country Review Magazine, and area Realtor Dane Wunderlich.
Warner said the nomination period has closed. Nominees were required to be residents of Murrieta. Between now and April 25, Warner said nominees will submit additional information regarding their work in the community and affiliations.
The supplemental information will be scored by judges consisting of two Chamber staff members and one member of the Board of Directors, Warner said.
The Citizen of the Year will be announced at the June 9 dinner, she said.
Vikita was grateful to those who sent in emails in support of her son's nomination.
"I am speechless, proud is an understatement," Vikita said. "As a mother, watching your child struggle and not be able to breathe—you are doing everything you possibly can to help them. And for him to take the attitude that he has to use it to help somebody else, I am truly blessed."
Carey's grandmother died of lung disease before he had the chance to meet her, she said.
"He just speaks from his heart. He isn’t trying to sell anything, he is just trying to educate people that lung disease is the No. 1 killer among cancers.
"Kids have their role models, and adults don't typically have role models but I tell you my son is my role model."