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Operation Homefront opens nominations today for its annual Military Child of the Year® Awards program, eight prestigious awards that honor the extraordinary achievements of America’s military children. Nominations for outstanding young people ages 13 to 18 who are legal dependents of a service member or military retiree and who demonstrate resilience, leadership, and achievement during their parents’ military service will be accepted from September 1 through December 1, 2021.
Military children exemplify resilience and strength of character. Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year® program seeks to recognize those who thrive in the face of the challenges common in military life. Seven Military Child of the Year® recipients will each represent a branch of the armed forces — Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard. The Eighth award is the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation, presented by global technology and consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. This award goes to a military child who has designed a bold and creative solution to address a local, regional, or global challenge. Award recipients often display dedication to excellence in schools and honor societies, civic associations and clubs, sports, and volunteerism. These young heroes embody leadership within their families and communities, and you never have to look far to find a military child deserving of a nomination.
If COVID conditions permit, all eight Military Child of the Year® Award recipients will be invited to attend Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year® Awards Gala on Thursday, April 7, 2022, in Arlington, VA, where they will each receive $10,000, a laptop, and donated surprises from Operation Homefront’s generous partners. , Operation Homefront will provide airfare and lodging for the award recipient and two family members for a two-day visit to the Washington, D.C. area.
Military members and their families exemplify service, teamwork and duty and therefore, do much to strengthen the communities they work so hard to protect,” said Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray Jr., President and CEO of Operation Homefront. “Military kids, who serve alongside their parents, contribute significantly on their own, even as they face the unique challenges inherent in military life, which is why we are so proud to highlight their remarkable accomplishments through our highly regarded Military Child of the Year program.”
Recipients have had the honor of meeting several Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, First Lady Michelle Obama, Paralympian/veteran Melissa Stockwell, entertainers King Calaway and Brenley Brown, former NFL star and philanthropist Jason Brown, and singer/songwriter/philanthropist Bret Michaels, who were guest speakers for past awards ceremonies. Actor and writer David Hoffman, who spent his childhood as an Army dependent, has also supported the Military Child of the Year® Awards in recent years.
“I was full of emotions—from excited to shocked, to grateful and amazed,” said Dasia Bandy, of winning the 2021 Military Child of the Year® Navy branch award. “It’s just such a lovely honor to be recognized by—not just my community—but the entire nation and the world, for the things that I do.”
To nominate a child for their respective branch award, or the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation, go to https://operationhomefront.org/military-child-of-the-year/. From family members and friends, to teachers, coaches, counselors, and clergy, anyone can nominate a military child, and everyone is encouraged to recognize the outstanding military children in their lives.
About Operation Homefront
Founded in 2002, Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive – not simply struggle to get by – in the communities they have worked so hard to protect. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity oversight groups, 90 percent of Operation Homefront expenditures go directly to programs that support tens of thousands of military families each year. Operation Homefront provides critical financial assistance, transitional and permanent housing, and family support services to prevent short-term needs from turning into chronic, long-term struggles. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the support from thousands of volunteers, Operation Homefront proudly serves America’s military families. For more information, visit OperationHomefront.org.