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Posted: October 29, 2013

GenXYZ: Dalton Sprouse, 33

Chief operating officer, The Center for American Values

Maria Martin

Sprouse brings his passion for leadership to the Center, where he helps the organization raise funds and direct the charge to create character-development programs for youth.

What are some of the values that you look for in an organization with “Values” in its name?

Our core values aren’t new. We tie everything back to honor, integrity and patriotism. My boss is a Medal of Honor recipient. I couldn’t ask for more.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

In elementary school, a teacher asked everyone in the class [that question]. I answered, ‘I don’t know what I want to be, but I know I want to be successful.’ She told me that wasn’t a good answer. To this day, I disagree.

Was the road to success a cake walk?

I’m the poster child for learning from challenges. One thing about me: I will not give up. I came from a family that was smart, and I knew education was the key, but school wasn’t easy for me.

You say the job is a perfect fit for you. Is part of that the location of the Center?

Drew Dix wanted to put it in Pueblo because this is known as the Home of Heroes, as we’ve had four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from here. And this has always been my home, so yes; it helps to make it the perfect fit. When I was getting ready to graduate, my adviser at college said, ‘Get out of Pueblo,’ and I said, ‘No, I’ll find my way here.’

Many schoolchildren visit the Center. What are some of the messages they might hear?

That we’re all capable of doing extraordinary things.

Do you think today’s youth have lost the ability to grasp what sacrifice and honor mean?

Youth today are the same as they were 100 years ago. It’s a matter of believing in them. Whether they’re straight-A students or juvenile delinquents, when they walk in here, they walk out a little prouder.

Maria Martin is a freelance writer.

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