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Operation Homefront Opens Nominations for 16th Annual Military Child of the Year Awards

Side view of man in military uniform hugging child
The Color Purple 2023

Growing up as a Military B.R.A.T. can have a profound impact on a kid’s life. Which is why it’s nice to be recognized when you’ve had an impact on others as well.

That’s why Military B.R.A.T.s who exemplify resilience, leadership and achievement during their parents’ military service can be nominated for the annual Military Child of the Year Award.

Kid staring at father in military with pride
Photo via Envato Elements

Nominations opened this week to recognize outstanding young people ages 13 to 18 who are legal dependents of a service member or retiree, and will be accepted through December 3, 2023.

‘STRENGTH OF CHARACTER’

These kids, who serve their country alongside their parents, “exemplify incredible strength of character,” according to Operation Homefront:

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. Award recipients 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.

Last year’s seven award recipients included more than 1,600 collective volunteer hours in the 12 months before nominations and all were members of the National Honor Society.

“Our nation’s military members and their families exemplify tremendous teamwork, service and resiliency – qualities that strengthen the communities they work so hard to protect,” says retired Brig. Gen. John Pray Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. “It is an honor to recognize and showcase the remarkable accomplishments of military children, who contribute significantly on their own while facing the unique challenges inherent in military life, through our highly regarded Military Child of the Year program.”

All seven award recipients will be invited to attend Operation Homefront’s Awards Gala on Thursday, April 11, 2024, in Arlington, Va., U.S.A. where they will each receive $10,000, a laptop and donated surprises from Operation Homefront’s partners. Airfare and lodging for each award recipient and two family members will be provided to attend the gala and spend a few days in the Washington, DC area.

Military (Photo via Unsplash)
Photo via Unsplash

MEETING OTHER MILITARY B.R.A.T.s

Previous recipients have been able to meet several chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and their spouses, First Lady Michelle Obama, Paralympian/veteran Melissa Stockwell, entertainers Runaway June and King Calaway, former NFL star and philanthropist Jason Brown and singer/songwriter/philanthropist Bret Michaels, who have served as guest speakers and entertainers.

Side view of black mother in military uniform hugging child
Photo via Envato Elements

Actor and writer David Hoffman, who spent his childhood as an Army B.R.A.T., has also supported the Military Child of the Year Awards in recent years, emceeing the awards gala in 2022 and 2023.

Military B.R.A.T. Jackson Griggs, who was one of the awardees last year, says it was a great privilege to receive the honor:

As a military child, I have always been so proud of my parent’s service and so aware of the amazing community of military families that are all over the world. However, even greater than the generous money that this award provides me toward my college education is the time with other military children from other branches who have experienced similar life events as myself. We formed an instant friendship, and our time together touring Washington, DC and hanging out with one another is a memory that I won’t soon forget.

Anyone can nominate a military child—from family members and friends, to teachers, coaches, counselors and clergy.

To learn more and nominate a child for their respective branch award, go to operationhomefront.org.

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