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John McCain is more than a Senator, more than just an American hero. He is an icon, a beacon by which our youth should set their course. Making a commitment to a cause greater than our own self-interest is critical to understanding the presumptive Republican nominee. John McCain’s life experience is a brilliant example of finding fulfillment through public service, through military service, and learning to be grateful for the freedoms we have as American citizens.

This morning, I was excited to see a call to serve – with a 21st Century twist.

With Saturday marking 100 days to the start of the 2008 Republican National Convention, and taking to heart the call of Sen. John McCain to serve a cause greater than one’s own self-interest, convention President and CEO Maria Cino today announced a national YouTube video contest with the winners attending the convention held at the Xcel Energy Center, Sept. 1-4.

“This contest is an exciting and interactive way for people to share stories of how they or others they know are giving something back in small towns and big cities across our great nation,” Cino said. “As our convention staff continues to participate in community service projects throughout Minneapolis-Saint Paul, we hope Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike will join us in answering Sen. McCain’s call to serve a greater cause “and that they will share their videos with us and the rest of the world.”

A video announcing the contest, featuring Sen. McCain’s Campaign Manager Rick Davis, can be viewed at www.youtube.com/GOPConvention2008.

The YouTube contest extends the convention’s American Neighbor Volunteer Program to a national level by asking people across America to submit videos profiling those whose efforts echo the American Neighbor mission: “I can help my neighbor. I can make a difference in my community.”

“Making your community a better place by helping your neighbors is truly a cause greater than our own self-interests, and it is a cause that is truly American,” Cino added.

From May 23 through June 26, 2008, users can submit a short video through the convention’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/GOPConvention2008. On June 27, the convention will announce five finalists, which will be voted on by YouTube users through the convention’s YouTube page. Voting runs through July 3, with the winner announced on Independence Day.

The winning video will be played during the official proceedings of the 2008 Republican National Convention. The producer and person profiled in the winning video will be invited to attend the convention.

The American Neighbor Volunteer Program was announced in September 2007 as a service initiative aimed at giving back to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area and inspiring Republicans across the nation to take action in their own communities. Since the program’s inception, convention staff has accumulated more than 375 hours of volunteer service, ranging from feeding the homeless to cleaning up a local park. Convention staff will also be helping build a new home for a young soldier injured in Iraq.

Read more at the official site of the 2008 GOP Convention.

—Media Lizzy