Military Child of the Year News and Announcements

March 12, 2015

Recipients Announced for 2015 Military Child of the Year

Operation Homefront today announced the six recipients of the 2015 Military Child of the Year® Award.  The national non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance to military families annually gives the award to an outstanding military child from each branch of service – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard – and for the first time in 2015, the National Guard.

From a pool of nearly 500 nominees, each award recipient was chosen by a committee including active-duty and retired military personnel, spouses of senior military leaders, veteran service organization leadership, teachers, and community members.  The six awardees will receive $10,000 each, will receive a laptop computer and other donated gifts, and will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for a special recognition gala on April 16, 2015. The awards will be presented by senior leaders of each branch of service.

"We're thrilled to honor these six outstanding young patriots with our Military Child of the Year Award," said Tim Farrell, Chief Operating Officer for Operation Homefront.  "These awardees represent the strength of our military families, who sacrifice so much in service to our country."

Following are the 2015 Military Child of the Year® Award recipients. Read more details about them here.

ARMY
Cavan McIntyre-Brewer, 13
Duncannon, Pa.

Cavan McIntyre-Brewer is in the seventh grade at the Cove School in Duncannon, Penn. He is the founder of Socks for Vets, which collects socks and other donated items for wounded warriors. In addition to his Socks for Vets organization, he helps his sister, herself a pediatric heart patient, with her program, Heart Hugs, collecting pillows for pediatric heart patients. He is the oldest child of Michelle McIntyre-Brewer and U.S. Army Capt. Steven Brewer. Michelle works as a medical and military advocate and educator, and Capt. Brewer is a medical detachment commander at Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic.

MARINE CORPS
Christopher-Raul Rodriguez, 17
Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Christopher Rodriguez is a senior at Lejeune High School in North Carolina. He is the team captain for the Lejeune High School Varsity Baseball and Soccer teams, and Junior Varsity Basketball Team. In addition to excelling on these teams, he is an assistant coach for students 8-12 years old in Lejeune Youth baseball, soccer, and basketball. Overcoming his early experience with domestic violence and homelessness, Christopher has become a leader in the community volunteering with a number of organizations to help kids with special needs. Christopher is the oldest child of Griscelda and U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jermaine Smith. He has one sister, Jazzlyn-Luz (14) and one brother Kilyn-Miguel (12). Griscelda is an on-base family childcare provider, and Jermaine is a gunnery sergeant at Camp Lejeune.


NAVY
Emily Kliewer, 17
Orlando, Fla.

Emily Kliewer is a senior at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla. and on track to graduate as the valedictorian of her class. In addition to academic excellence, Emily is captain of her Swimming and Diving Team and four-time school record holder. She uses her talents to volunteer with the Special Olympics as a swimming instructor and volunteer coach.  Emily’s experience with the Special Olympics motivated her to get involved with other organizations that assist special needs kids. She is the youngest daughter of Cynthia and Kyle Kliewer. Her older sisters are Kaitlyn (23) currently earning her PhD in Civic Engineering at Princeton and Nicole (21) who will graduate Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University. Her father is a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy.

AIR FORCE                     
Sarah Hesterman, 16    
Doha, Qatar                

Sarah Hesterman is a junior at the American School of Doha. Sarah is the founder and president of Girl Up Qatar, a club that promotes the rights of women and girls in the Middle East and around the world. Girl Up Qatar is part of the United Nations foundation innovation campaign, Girl Up, to empower girls. Sarah is the only child of Dr. Jennifer and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. John Hesterman.  Her father is currently the Commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT), stationed in Qatar. He has been serving for 32 years.  Her mother is a retired Air Force colonel with 21 years of service and is currently a professor and academic author.

COAST GUARD
Caleb Parsons, 18
Suffolk, Va.

Caleb Parsons is a senior at King’s Folk High School in Suffolk, Va. He is an Eagle Scout and Senior Patrol Leader in Boy Scouts of America. He led his troop on a weekend camping trip where they revamped a dilapidated trail in the park, leveling the trail and installing fencing. Caleb is also an active leader in the Air Force JROTC, having received the highest rank achievable in the program. He juggles these leadership roles while caring for his younger siblings with help from his grandparents and a few family friends while both of his parents are deployed. He is the oldest son of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Story and U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Ward Parsons. He has two younger brothers Isaac (16), Nathan (14), and younger sister Kyleah (9).

NATIONAL GUARD
Zachary Parsons, 16
Warrensburg, Mo.

Zachary Parsons is a sophomore at Sacred Heart High School in Warrensburg, Mo. Zachary is an active member of his local and state level 4-H organization. He is currently President of the Johnson County Council, West Central Representative for Missouri State Council, and the National 4-H Congress delegate from Missouri. He also serves to help support children of deployed military on the Missouri National Guard Teen Advisory Council, advocating for support with nonprofits, legislature, and the public. He is the youngest son of Debbie and Missouri National Guard Staff Sgt. Jason Parsons. His father is currently at the Wounded Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Leonard Wood. He has four older siblings, Dianne Gower (31), married to Simon Gower; Taylar McDonald (24) married to Anthony McDonald; Shaun Roach (26) and his wife Lindsey; and Matthew (deceased).

The Presenting Sponsor for the Military Child of the Year® Awards Gala is United Technologies.  Murphy-Goode Winery is a Bronze Sponsor.  Patriot Sponsors are MidAtlanticBroadband, Aflac, and La Quinta Inns & Suites.  The Office Depot Foundation is a Benefactor.  The Media Sponsor is Military Times.

 

February 25, 015

Finalists Announced for 2015 Military Child of the Year

Congratulations to the finalists for the 2015 Military Child of the Year. The top 5 from each branch of service are listed below.

2015 marks the seventh year Operation Homefront has presented the award, which will be given to one outstanding military child from each category: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard.

A panel of judges including senior retired service members, senior spouses, members of Operation Homefront’s Board of Directors, and other leaders in the military support community will select the award recipient for each branch. Award recipients will be announced in March.

Each award recipient will receive $10,000 and will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C. for a special recognition ceremony on April 16, 2015.   

“Our Military Child of the Year Award honors those young patriots who overcome the difficulties presented by deployments, relocations, and other challenges of military life," said Tim Farrell, Chief Operating Officer for Operation Homefront.  “These exemplary young people set an example for others to emulate in their communities through leadership, resilience, and a commitment to excellence in all that they do.”

Following are the finalists for the 2015 Military Child of the Year® Award:

 

ARMY

Leslie Chaffin - Age 17 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Savannah Hampton - Age 15 - Coal Valley, Ill.
Haleigh Hardie - Age 17 - Cadiz, Ky.
Cavan McIntyre-Brewer - Age 13 - Duncannon, Pa.
India Persaud - Age 17 - Appling, Ga.

AIR FORCE

Andre Briere - Age 17 - Tampa, Fla.
Sarah Hesterman - Age 16 - APO, Qatar
Jordyn McNeal - Age 8 - Trussville, Ala.
Kristen Ramer - Age 17 - APO, Korea
Bridget Ray - Age 16 - Burke, Va.

COAST GUARD

Jesse Calvert - Age 17 - Port Angeles, Wash.
Mary Kate Cooper - Age 15 - Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Madison Fairbanks - Age 16 - Frisco, N.C.
Chase Murphy - Age 16 - Mobile, Ala.
Caleb Parsons - Age 18 - Suffolk, Va.

MARINE CORPS

Brady Jernigan - Age 17 - Alexandria, Va.
Mary Kochanski - Age 17 - Henderson, Nev.
Destiny Oakley - Age 17 - Quantico, Va.
Christopher-Raul Rodriguez - Age 17 - Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Briley Rossiter - Age 13 - Virginia Beach, Va.

NATIONAL GUARD

Rachel Cousins - Age 18 - Westfield, Mass.
Michelle Gallant - Age 17 - Jacksonville, Fla.
Arial Jenkins - Age 16 - Sharpsburg, Ga.
Lily Moser - Age 13 - Portland, Ore.
Zachary Parsons - Age 16 - Warrensburg, Mo.

NAVY

Michael Curtin - Age 16 - Alexandria, Va.
Emily Kliewer - Age 17 - Orlando, Fla.
Katlyn Logsdon - Age 17 - Virginia Beach, Va.
Corbyn McKinley-Piwonski - Age 17 - Honolulu, Hawaii
Brady Snyder - Age 17 - Virginia Beach, Va.

 

 

January 15, 2015

Semi-Finalists Announced for 2015 Military Child of the Year

 

Operation Homefront today announced the 90 semi-finalists – representing all five service branches and the National Guard – for the 2015 Military Child of the Year® Award.  2015 marks the seventh year Operation Homefront has presented the award, which will be given to one outstanding military child from each category: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard.

Each semi-finalist will be interviewed by Operation Homefront staff, and award recipients will be chosen by a panel of judges including senior retired service members, senior spouses, members of Operation Homefront’s Board of Directors, and other leaders in the military support community. 

The recipient of the Military Child of the Year® Award for each category will be announced in March.  Each award recipient will receive $10,000 and will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C. for a special recognition ceremony on April 16, 2015.   

Ideal candidates for the Military Child of the Year® Award demonstrate resilience and strength of character, and thrive in the face of the challenges of military life.  They demonstrate leadership within their families and within their communities.

“Our Military Child of the Year Award honors those young patriots who overcome the difficulties presented by deployments, relocations, and other challenges of military life," said Tim Farrell, Chief Operating Officer for Operation Homefront.  “These exemplary young people set an example for others to emulate in their communities through leadership, resilience, and a commitment to excellence in all that they do.”

Following are the semi-finalists for the 2015 Military Child of the Year® Award.

ARMY

Joseph C. – age 14 – Colleyville, Texas

Leslie C. – age 17 – Colorado Springs, Colo.

Johnily C. – age 11 – Nolanville, Texas

Savannah H. – age 15 – Coal Valley, Ill.

Haleigh H. – age 17 – Cadiz, Ky.

Amanda L. – age 17 – Watertown, N.Y.

Lorelei M. – age 9 – Duncannon, Pa.

Cavan M. – age 13 – Duncannon, Pa.

Grant N. – age 14 – West Point, N.Y.

Elizabeth O. – age 16 – Fuquay Varina, N.C.

India P. – age 17 – Appling, Ga.

Elisabeth P. – age 12 – Honolulu, Hawaii

Abigail P. – age 17 – Clarksville, Tenn.

Christian S. – age 17 – Seaford, Va.

Rachel S. – age 17 – Dahlonega, Ga.

 

AIR FORCE
Joel B. – age 16 – Dover, Del.

Andre B. – age 17 – Tampa, Fla.

Jacob D. – age 16 – Norman, Okla.

Meaghan F. – age 17 – Beavercreek, Ohio

Sarah H. – age 16 – Doha, Qatar

Andrew L. – age 17 – Laurel, Md.

Jordyn M. – age 8 – Trussville, Ala.

Bethany M. – age 16 – Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

Gabriella M. – age 17 – Tucson, Ariz.

Kristen R. – age 17 – Osan, Korea

Bridget R. – age 16 – Burke, Va.

Eddie S. – age 14 – Beavercreek, Ohio

Angelo S. – age 17 – Hainesport, N.J.

Caleb Y. – age 16 – Enid, Okla.

David Z. – age 16 – San Antonio, Texas


COAST GUARD
Bryn B. – age 17 – Washington, D.C.

Jesse C. – age 17 – Port Angeles, Wash.

Mary Kate C. – age 15 – Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Emily C. – age 17 – Durham, N.H.

Ryan D. – age 11 – Wrightstown, N.J.

Madison F. – age 16 – Southgate, Mich.

Keegan F. – age 16 – Fairhaven, Mass.

Shyanne G. – age 17 – Onancock, Va.

Olivia K. – age 17 – Grangeville, Idaho

Marissa K. – age 15 – Grangeville, Idaho

John K. – age 12 – Grangeville, Idaho

Kylie M. – age 13 – Hamilton, N.J.

Ernesto M. – age 15 – Ashburn, Va.

Chase M. – age 16 – Mobile, Ala.

Caleb P. – age 18 – Pembroke Pines, Fla.


MARINE CORPS
Ashton B. – age 12 – Albany, N.Y.

Brianna C. – age 13 – Hill Air Force Base, Utah

Corey C. – age 16 – Havelock, N.C.

Tori E. – age 17 – Mesa, Ariz.

Adriana E. – age 13 – Havelock N.C.

Brady J. – age 17 – Alexandria, Va.

Mary K. – age 17 – Henderson, Nev.

Samuel K. – age 17 – Barre, Vt.

Lyric N. – age 8 – Indianapolis, Ind.

Destiny O. – age 17 – Quantico, Va.

Christopher-Raul R. – age 17 – Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Cezar R. – age 17 – Waynesville, Mo.

Briley R. – age 13 – Saint Paul, Minn.

Emily S. – age 16 – New Kensington, Pa.

Faith S. – age 17 – Biloxi, Miss.

NATIONAL GUARD

Mabelle B. – age 11 – Winter Garden, Fla.

Rachel C. – age 18 – Wellesley, Mass.

Adam C. – age 17 – Newport News, Va.

Molly F. – age 14 – Pickerington, Ohio

Brandon G. – age 16 – Newburgh, N.Y.

Michelle G. – age 17 – Colorado Springs, Colo.

Christian G. – age 11 – Fresno, Calif.

Arial J. – age 16 – Lithonia, Ga.

Sara M. – age 17 – Chicago, Ill.

Lily M. – age 13 – Portland, Ore.

Zachary P. – age 16 – Warrensburg, Mo.

Kameron P. – age 16 – Norfolk, Va.

Colette S. – age 9 – Napa, Calif.

Brianna S. – age 13 – Oregon City, Ore.

Maggie W. – age 16 – Yardley, Pa.


NAVY
Carson A. – age 14 – San Diego, Calif.

Victoria B. – age 16 – Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Michael C. – age 16 – Alexandria, Va.

Hailey F. – age 8 – Bremerton, Wash.

Katherine H. – age 12 – Havelock, N.C.

Emily K. – age 17 – Ocoee, Fla.

Daniel K. – age 15 – Newport, R.I.

Katlyn L. – age 17 – Virginia Beach, Va.

Corbyn M. – age 17 – Honolulu, Hawaii

Autumn O. – age 17 – Aiea, Hawaii

Isabelle R. – age 10 – Jamul, Calif.

Brendan S. – age 18 – Niantic, Conn.

Brady S. – age 17 – Virginia Beach, Va.

Kenan T. – age 17 – Bahrain

Mariah W. – age 17 – New Bern, N.C.

 

 

 

 

 

Oct. 7, 2014

Operation Homefront is Accepting Nominations for Military Child of the Year® Award

New Award Category for National Guard Children

Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit dedicated to providing emergency financial and other assistance to military families, has announced that nominations for the 2015 Military Child of the Year® Awards are being accepted online at MilitaryChildOfTheYear.org through December 12, 2014. Awardees will be recognized in April 2015.

Outstanding children of National Guardsmen will compete in their own award category for the very first time.

The Military Child of the Year Award® recognizes children who stand out among their peers.  Ideal candidates for the award demonstrate resilience, strength of character, and thrive in the face of the challenges of military life. These young heroes embody leadership within their families and communities.  Each nominee will receive a letter acknowledging his or her nomination.  

“In the six years that Operation Homefront has presented the Military Child of the Year® Award, we have seen so many examples of courage, adaptability and perseverance.  I’m looking forward to meeting the extraordinary young people who will receive our 2015 award,” said Tim Farrell, Chief Operating Officer for Operation Homefront.  “In the face of relocations, separation from deployed parents, and all the other sacrifices of being part of a military family, these children thrive and so often set an example for their peers.”

This award is presented to an outstanding child from each branch of service – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the National Guard. The recipients each receive a $10,000 award and a laptop, and are flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for a special awards gala on April 16. In previous years, recipients have had the honor of meeting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, First Lady Michelle Obama, and philanthropist and singer Bret Michaels, who were guest speakers for the event awards ceremonies.

Anyone can nominate a child. Family members, teachers, coaches, counselors, clergy, neighbors and friends are encouraged to nominate outstanding military children. For more information on how to nominate a child in your community or to see photos from past events, please log on to MilitaryChildOfTheYear.org.

The Title Sponsor for the 2015 Military Child of the Year® Awards Gala is United Technologies CorporationMidAtlanticBroadband is a Patriot-level sponsor. Additional sponsorships are available, and more information on sponsorships can be found at MilitaryChildOfTheYear.org.

 

March 27, 2014

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey and Legendary Rocker Bret Michaels Headline Military Child of the Year® Gala

 

Mike Emanuel of Fox News to Emcee Operation Homefront Event

 

 

WASHINGTON – General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will speak at the Military Child of the Year® Award Gala on April 10, Operation Homefront announced today.  The event recognizes the top military child from each of the five military services. 

 

Adding star power to the Washington, D.C. gala with a keynote address will be legendary musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Bret Michaels.  Having grown up as a military child himself, Michaels is a supporter of Operation Homefront and recently visited wounded warriors at Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio.

 

Mike Emanuel, chief congressional correspondent for Fox News Channel, will emcee the dinner and award portion of the evening event.  During his tenure at Fox News, Emanuel has provided live coverage of several national and international stories, including the 2005 Iraqi elections, the execution of former dictator Saddam Hussein, and several tours of Afghanistan.

 

“We’re excited to have a great program and some outstanding Americans to salute these five amazing military kids,” said Jim Knotts, President & CEO of Operation Homefront.  “The Military Child of the Year® Award honors the resiliency and service to country of our youngest heroes.  These children thrive in the face of the challenges of military life with grace and courage, and use that experience to become leaders in their communities.”

 

2014 is the sixth year that Operation Homefront has presented the Military Child of the Year® Awards.  The five awardees will receive $5,000 each and will be flown with a parent or guardian to our nation’s capital for the special recognition ceremony.  The awards will be presented by senior leaders of each branch of service.  From a pool of nearly 1,000 nominees, each award recipient was chosen by a committee including active-duty and retired military personnel, spouses of senior military leaders, veteran service organization leaders, teachers, and community members. 

 

The five award recipients for 2014 are Kenzie Hall, 16, of Temecula, Calif. representing the Army; Michael-Logan Burke Jordan, 15, of Kailua, Hawaii representing the Marine Corps; Ryan Patrick Curtin, 18, of Corpus Christi, Texas representing the Navy; Gage Alan Dabin, 18, of Anchorage, Alaska representing the Air Force; and Juanita Lindsay Collins, 17, of Clearwater, Fla. representing the Coast Guard.