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Long-Distance Leadership Motivates National Guard Teen

By Operation Homefront

April 15, 2019

Maryland high school senior Campbell Miller had just started his Eagle Scout project to improve the school’s track for the cross country team when he got the news. His mom, National Guard Col. Allison Miller, had a new assignment. The family would be moving to Ohio.

It was the third time moving in high school. And while Campbell always looked on the bright side of moving, he did not want to drop the Eagle Scout project. He had planned on raising funds to get workout stations and mile markers along the trail. Without them, the teams had to go inside to get a workout and visiting students had a hard time keeping track of distances because nothing was marked. Each station was designed for multiple different exercises.

“I wanted to give back to the school that had given me so much,” Campbell said. “All of my project planning, along with getting signatures from the board members and school facilities manager, had to be done over email and phone. It taught me a lot about communication and how important it is to be able to communicate in different ways.”

Campbell’s long-distance leadership on the project is just one of the many reasons he was named the 2019 National Guard Military Child of the Year® Award recipient.

Being in a military family has its own challenges but as the oldest son of a single mom, Campbell has often taken on the responsibilities of someone much older. During his mom’s frequent deployments, he has helped with his two younger siblings, he’s also escorted his mother to military functions and handled routine home and lawn maintenance.

Campbell has helped with his siblings during his mom’s frequent deployments, escorted his mom to military functions, and handled routine home and lawn maintenance. In his MCOY® applicant essay, Campbell wrote about two ways he had to grow up fast. In one instance, his sister became extremely ill while his mother was four states and 12 hours away. She needed immediate medical attention and Campbell took care of her. He also helped his younger brother navigate bullying issues after he started at a new school.

Moving and meeting new people has taught Campbell flexibility and resiliency.

“I have found the positives in attending three high schools in two years and consider it an honor to meet and get to know other teenagers from the south, the east and now the mid-west,” he wrote in his application essay. “I look forward to seeing how these opportunities will help me as I transition to college and later in life as an adult.”

He also has a love of advocacy and service, including through his church both locally and internationally. He has hundreds of service hours and has participated in mission trips to Ireland, Guatemala and Uganda. For those trips he had to raise more than 90 percent of the funds.

He has also been recognized for his outstanding leadership, service and maturity. He was chosen to be a Troop Senior Patrol Leader, student ambassador (at both schools in Maryland and Ohio), captain and starting player on his varsity baseball and cross country teams all while earning membership in the National Honor Society and taking dual college credit courses as a junior and senior.

Eagle Project

Now he can add to that list being named a MCOY® recipient, which rendered him speechless, he said.

“It is such an honor and quite humbling to know that my story matters and that all that we, as a family, have endured, actually means something to someone.  We know we are serving something larger than our family, but to feel appreciated for the sacrifices is a feeling I cannot describe.”

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