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Military Child of the Year® Award semifinalist graphic

Press Release

2022 Military Child of the Year® Semifinalists

By Operation Homefront

January 11, 2022

Media Inquiries: Susan Ziesman or (210) 392-6878

Operation Homefront Announces 2022 Military Child of the Year® Semifinalists

SAN ANTONIO — Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit celebrating 20 years of building strong, stable, and secure military families, is pleased to announce that 100 military children from across the U.S. and overseas have advanced as semifinalists in Operation Homefront’s 2022 Military Child of the Year® Awards program.

This year marks the 14th anniversary of this very special program and is the nation’s premier celebration of the achievements of America’s military children, reflecting the positive impact they have made on their families, schools, and communities.  The Military Child of the Year® Award is a lifelong source of pride for the recipients. Participating in the program provides them with amazing opportunities to connect with senior military leaders, celebrities, and other remarkable military children. 

Finalists for this year’s awards will be selected in February by a panel of independent, volunteer judges. The final eight award recipients will be announced in March and each will receive $10,000, a laptop, and other donated gifts. A celebration program is currently scheduled for April 7, 2022; details regarding the celebrations will be released in March and any events will follow CDC and state health guidelines.

Seven Military Child of the Year® Award recipients will represent each branch of the armed forces — the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Space Force — and are selected for their excellence in scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, and extracurricular activities. The eighth award is the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation presented by 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.

“This award means I truly have a community and support system that is counting on me to continue to make long-term change for young people, for my family, for the community, and for the world,” said Dasia Bandy, 2021 Navy Military Child of the Year®. Bandy is now studying international affairs at George Washington University with a minor in mass communications and journalism. She serves as a Senator for the Student Association while continuing to volunteer throughout the community.

The following are all the 2022 Military Child of the Year® Award semifinalists by service branch. Semifinalists for the 2022 Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation are also designated:


Elena Ashburn, 18, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Jaiyla Battle, 13, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

Abigail Blythe, 15, Fort Shafter, Hawaii

Alexis Brunney, 18, Boulder, Colo.

Karli Finley-Zink, 17, Fort Belvoir, Va.

Laura Free, 16, Lacey, Wash.

Tyra Gipson, 16, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Nina Guastafierro, 16, Schertz, Texas

Mackenzie Hanna, 16, Grafton, Mass.

Kimberly Heineken, 17, San Antonio, Texas

Mandarava Jamyangling-Kawaguchi, 16, Boulder, Colo.

Kori Margain, 14, Issaquah, Wash.

Leonid Nevezhin, 16, Bronxville, N.Y.

Levid Rodriguez, 18, Paintsville, Ky.

Fredre’Oni Terrado, 17, Elizabethtown, Ky.

  • Fredre’Oni is also one of the 10 semifinalists for the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation

Marine Corps

Madelyn Coble, 17, Trent Woods, N.C.

Brody Galvin, 17, Sneads Ferry, N.C.

Lillian Glegola, 16, Hubert, N.C.

Naomi Gordon, 16, Sneads Ferry, N.C.

Logan Hall, 17, Burleson, Texas

Sean Ingram, 18, Manassas, Va.

Harmony Jones, 16, East Garrison, Calif.

Jett Jones, 14, Marina, Calif.

Sophia Jordan, 13, Fort Worth, Texas

Dominick Maxheimer, 13, Pensacola, Fla.

Gloria Murphy, 17, Hubert, N.C.

Kyle Murray, 17, Manassas, Va.

Connor Nicol, 13, Carthage, N.C.

  • Connor is also one of the 10 semifinalists for the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation

Iain Nicol, 15, Carthage, N.C.

Danielle Shoemake, 18, Batavia, Ohio


Symone Atienza, 17, Mons, Belgium

Isabelle Bowman, 17, San Diego, Calif.

Jacob Crazy Bull, 18, Stuttgart, Germany

Grace Damato, 17, Chesapeake, Va.

Benjamin Galliher, 17, St. Marys, Ga.

Khalif Kamil, 16, Oceanside, Calif.

Meghan Kurtz, 17, Coronado, Calif.

Lorelei Lewis, 17, Sigonella, Italy

Christian Lintz, 18, Coronado, Calif.

Emily Lundgren, 17, Chula Vista, Calif.

Mitchell Matella, 16, Rockville, Md.

Victoria Novak, 17, Mechanicsville, Va.

Alexander Parks, 15, St. Marys, Ga.

Jack Peterson, 18, San Diego, Calif.

Desirae Walton, 17, St. Marys, Ga.

Air Force

Brennan Ahle, 16, O’Fallon, Ill.

Corinne Alonzo, 17, Springfield, Va.

Ian Bearden, 17, Tucson, Ariz.

Mark Cabeen, 17, Clovis, N.M.

Kyra Clark, 15, Harbor City, Calif.

Lana Clayton, 15, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Brianna Cooley, 16, Bossier City, La.

Anna Cummins, 16, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Sean Dunn, 18, Ramstein Air Base, Germany

Annelle Elizandro, 16, Monument, Colo.

Jaidyn Fountain, 16, Buckeye, Ariz.

Alecea Pinkley, 18, Honolulu, Hawaii

Alexis Poisson, 15, Merrimack, N.H.

Aislin Stanford, 17, Papillion, Neb.

Collin Williams, 15, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Coast Guard

Kathryn Alonso, 17, Vienna, Va.

Courtney Barnard, 18, Hubert, N.C.

Emma Cameron, 17, Lexington, Va.

Luke Carter, 17, Melbourne, Fla.

Lorelei Collis, 15, Sarasota, Fla.

Ava Cooper, 16, Port Jefferson, N.Y.

Jessie Dlabaj, 17, Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Jessica Hamilton, 15, Hollywood, Fla.

Jonathan Shuster, 18, St. Johns, Fla.

  • Jonathan is also one of the 10 semifinalists for the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation

Blakeley Willson, 17, Truckee, Calif.

National Guard

Dedrick Baublitz Jr., 18, Thompson, Conn.

Elena Burdge, 17, Dallas, Penn.

Klaryssa Dunwoody, 15, Altoona, Iowa

Lorraine Glew, 14, Oelwein, Iowa

Breanna Gonzalez, 16, Alhambra, Calif.

Nicholas Hodges, 16, Ghent, W. Va.

Magon James, 17, Dewitt, Ark.

Karmyn Jones, 17, Lexington, Ky.

Colin Lalgee, 16, Jacksonville, Fla.

Isabella Montenegro, 13, Sanford, Fla.

BraeLee Morris, 17, Deatsville, Ala.

Andrew Stone, 15, Nelsonville, Ohio

Kate Wardlaw, 14, Stillwater, Okla.

Sarah Woelfel, 17, Becker, Minn.

Shane Yaffe Ruebeck, 16, Baltimore, Md.

Space Force*

Kadence Atwood, 15, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Grant Benson, 18, Burke, Va.

Brandon Kim, 13, Cerritos, Ca.

Olivia Kim, 15, Cerritos, Ca.

Ava Pogue, 17, Colorado Springs, Colo.

*This is the second year for inviting nominations from the newest military service, the U.S. Space Force. We anticipate more nominees from this branch as it becomes more established.

Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation

Abigail Hickman, 17, Marion, Ky., Army

Kelsey Johnston, 18, Prince George, Va., Army

David Lee, 18, Osan, South Korea, Air Force

Keyon Minott, 17, Williamsburg, Va., Army

Connor Nicol, 13, Carthage, N.C., Marine Corps

Alexis Sheppard, 14, Sasebo, Japan, Navy

Jonathan Shuster, 18, St. Johns, Fla., Coast Guard

Maverick Simons, 17, Fort Collins, Colo., Navy

Janiyah Spruill, 16, Baumholder, Germany, Army

Fredre’Oni Terrado, 17, Elizabethtown, Ky., Army

About Operation Homefront

Celebrating 20 years of serving America’s military families, 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

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