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Taylor Walsh Hopes to Create Change

By Operation Homefront

April 1, 2024

Taylor Walsh Selected as 2024 Military Child of the Year® for the Space Force

Taylor Walsh, Operation Homefront’s 2024 Military Child of the Year® for the Space Force, learned resiliency at a young age when her parents were stationed in separate locations. She has used those lessons to respond to challenges and help others through mentoring and volunteering. 

Taylor, 18, is the daughter of Space Force Col. Mia Walsh and Air Force veteran Mark Walsh. Mark retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2014 from the Air Force after 18 years of service, choosing family stability over continued deployments and separations. The Walsh family has experienced six permanent changes of station throughout their military journey. 

“It is definitely a large sacrifice, but I am incredibly proud of my parents’ careers and accomplishments,” Taylor said. “My parents’ jobs have given me so many opportunities, funny stories, etc. that I deeply value.  The military has taught and shaped me into who I am today. I would not be the same person without those experiences.”   

Currently, Taylor’s mother is serving in Los Angeles, California, while her father stayed in Arlington, Virginia, so Taylor could finish school. She is a senior at Washington-Liberty High School. Taylor has enjoyed growing roots in Arlington, a city that is home to many service members and their families. Having more military kids around her has made her transition easier, though she certainly understands the challenges. 

“My greatest advice for other military kids is to simply get involved,” she said. “I know it can be daunting when you are in a new place, but by getting involved in a school club or community activity, you are able to find comfort and community in each new place.” 

She has logged 830 volunteer hours in the past 12 months, much of it through her high school’s volunteer opportunities. She has mentored more than 40 freshmen students and is active in the Key Club, ACLU club, and Student Council Association. While a member of the association, she planned and incentivized more than 2,500 students to participate in annual community outreach programs such as a blood drive and a food drive. 

Taylor is also involved in extracurricular activities such as softball and the Arlington Children’s Chorus, showcasing her diverse talents and commitment to her community. 

A highlight of her experience as a military child was witnessing her mother being honored at the 2023 Rose Bowl, a moment that filled her with immense pride and served as inspiration for both her and her younger brother. 

“The most meaningful memory I have from that day was when my mother stood front and center on the field and was honored for her service,” Taylor said. “I am so incredibly proud of my mom and all her accomplishments. She is an incredible role model for not only my brother and me but also younger military members, and to watch her hard work and sacrifices pay off in that moment still gives me chills!” 

After high school, Taylor plans to attend college and major in economics and finance then earn a law degree. She is eagerly awaiting responses from several prestigious universities, with the University of Michigan, University of Virginia, and Georgetown University being her top choices. 

Taylor has two different careers in mind and hopes to explore those ideas further in college. 

“I would love to work in the sports industry or pursue a career in government (international relations, public policy, etc),” she said. “In terms of sports, I have always been fascinated by the community created by sports teams and would love to be a part of sharing the joy of sports. I have also always been extremely passionate about working in politics. In present day, I feel one of the greatest ways to create change is through creating law and policy.” 

Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year program, now in its 16th year, recognizes outstanding teens in each branch of the armed forces for criteria that include their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership and extracurricular involvement while facing the challenges of military family life.  

Collectively, the seven 2024 recipients logged 3,667 volunteer hours in the 12 months before nominations. Altogether, they have experienced 37 permanent changes of station and lived through 247 months of deployments.   

The Military Child of the Year Award recipients will be recognized at a gala in Washington, D.C., in April, during which senior leaders of each branch of service will present the awards. Award recipients also will receive $10,000 each, a laptop computer, and other donated gifts. 

Service/Leadership Highlights 

  • Student Council President 
  • Student Ambassador President (a club dedicated to military and transfer students) 
  • Girl Scout Silver Award recipient 
  • AP Scholar with Distinction 
  • National Honor Society Vice President 
  • American Civil Liberties Union Vice President 
  • Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year, Washington-Liberty High School Softball 
  • Student Advisory Board Member and Youth Peer Ambassador with CYFA (Center for Youth and Family Advocacy) 

Favorite Quote: 

“It is difficult to be disappointed when you are grateful.”—  (Anonymous) 

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