Operation Homefront Announces 2017 Military Child of the Year® Semifinalists

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Award recipients will be selected for prestigious honor based on their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, and extracurricular involvement.

Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit serving America’s military families, has narrowed nearly 400 nominees for the 2017 Military Child of the Year® Awards to 90 semifinalists nationwide. Additionally, 20 semifinalists have been chosen out of 40 nominees for the 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation presented by Booz Allen Hamilton.

Six Military Child of the Year® Award winners in the ages 8 to 18 range, representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard, will receive $10,000 each. They will be selected based on their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, and extracurricular involvement.

The seventh award, which is open to young people ages 13 to 18, is the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation presented by Booz Allen Hamilton. The winner of this award shows the power of innovative thinking. Examples include a new invention, improvement to existing technology, or creation of a new nonprofit. The Innovation award recipient will earn $10,000 and a mentorship by Booz Allen Hamilton employees to scale or to advance the winner’s project.

Each Military Child of the Year® Award semifinalist will be interviewed by a panel selected by Operation Homefront staff. Award recipients will be chosen by a panel of judges, to include senior retired service members, senior spouses, members of Operation Homefront’s board of directors, and other leaders in the military support community. Booz Allen Hamilton will judge competitors for the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation.

Every winner will be flown to Washington along with a parent or guardian to receive the award from high-ranking military leaders.

More information about the Military Child of the Year® awards is available at http://www.militarychildoftheyear.org.

These are the semifinalists:

2017 Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year® Award Semifinalists

Abroad

Andrea Gamble, 17, Kaiserslautern, Germany, Army

Alabama

Jordyn McNeal, 10, Birmingham, Alabama, Air Force
Kaili Cutler, 8, Daphne, Alabama, Coast Guard

Alaska

Erin McLeod, 17, Anchorage, Alaska, Air Force
Rachel Winburn, 17, Ketchikan, Alaska, Coast Guard

Arizona

Evan Pittman, 18, Phoenix, Arizona, Navy

California

Isabelle Richards, 12, Jamul, California, Navy
Reagan Warrick, 12, El Cajon, California, Navy
Sierra LeFlore, 17, San Marcos, California, Marine Corps

Colorado

Erica Thompson, 18, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Air Force
Hayley Hamblin, 18, Florissant, Colorado, Army

Connecticut

Ashlynn Ruleman, 16, Waterford, Connecticut, Coast Guard
Kathryn Schorr, 17, Darien, Connecticut, Navy

Florida

Grace Pleinis, 9, Tampa, Florida, Army
Madison Shick, 15, Tampa, Florida, Army
Thomas Rizza, 11, Bradenton, Florida, Army
Alyssa Santos, 17, Tarpon Springs, Florida, Coast Guard
Amelia Bailey, 16, Saint Augustine, Florida, National Guard (Top 5 national finalist in 2016)
Sheryl Evans, 17, Callahan, Florida, National Guard
Anthony Beasley, 18, Hurlburt Field, Florida, Air Force
Edward Salvador, 16, Niceville, Florida, Air Force
Henderson Heussner, 18, Fort Myers, Florida, Army

Georgia

Alysha Worden, 17, Martinez, Georgia, National Guard
Jediah Persaud, 16, Appling, Georgia, Army
Eleanor Rager, 17, Douglasville, Georgia, National Guard
Mackenzie Miller, 17, Peachtree City, Georgia, Army
Katherine Dever, 17, Kathleen, Georgia, Air Force

Hawaii

Kindrah Carney, 16, Pearl City, Hawaii, Marine Corps
Madeline Turpin, 17, Wahiawa, Hawaii, Army

Iowa

Connor Ascherl, 18, Granville, Iowa, National Guard

Kansas

Hunter Hotaling, 15, Lansing, Kansas, Army

Louisiana

Alexander Sucato, 16, Belle Chasse, Louisiana, Navy

Massachutetts

Joseph Schmid, 8, Marshfield, Massachusetts, Coast Guard

Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

Alexander McGrath, 17, Severna Park, Maryland, Navy
Cohen Russell, 10, Fort Meade, Maryland, Army
Trevette Kuester, 17, Huntingtown, Maryland, Air Force
Aiden O'Leary, 17, Fredericksburg, Virginia, Navy
Cody Phillips, 17, Quantico, Virginia, Marine Corps
Linda Goodson, 17, Triangle, Virginia, Air Force
Mary Kate Cooper, 17, Fairfax, Virginia, Coast Guard
McKenzie Galloway, 17, Stafford, Virginia, Marine Corps
Thomas Russ, 17, Stafford, Virginia, Marine Corps
Timothy Hunt, 17, Burke, Virginia, Army

Michigan

Janelle Gehrke, 15, Saint Joseph, Michigan, Coast Guard

Minnesota

Alexander Steinmetz, 16, Cottage Grove, Minnesota, National Guard
John Kargel, 15, Isle, Minnesota, National Guard

Missouri

Joshua Traxel, 16, Rolla, Missouri, National Guard

North Carolina

Neorah Wells, 9, Charlotte, North Carolina, Marine Corps
Jennifer Narvaez, 16, Hubert, North Carolina, Marine Corps
Alejandro Cook-Hernandez, 17, Havelock, North Carolina, Marine Corps
Viktoria Alston, 17, Havelock, North Carolina, Marine Corps
Joshua F., 13, Jacksonville, North Carolina, Marine Corps
Brooke Gruber, 17, Jacksonville, North Carolina, Marine Corps
Caleb Harding, 16, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Navy
Da'Rod Crutchfield, 18, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Marine Corps
Jackson Beatty, 17, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Marine Corps

North Dakota

Olivia Burch, 18, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Navy

Nebraska

Sydney Long, 17, Lincoln, Nebraska, National Guard

New Jersey

Charlie McGuire, 12, Trenton, New Jersey, Coast Guard
Kylie McGuire, 15, Trenton, New Jersey, Coast Guard
Zaniya Lewis, 18, Edgewater Park, New Jersey, National Guard

Nevada

Caroline Stanton, 11, Las Vegas, Nevada, Air Force
Marianna Galvin, 17, Henderson, Nevada, Air Force
Chace Cleckley, 17, Fallon, Nevada, Navy

Ohio

Molly Frey, 16, Pickerington, Ohio, National Guard

Oklahoma

Cody Watson, 16, Tuttle, Oklahoma, Coast Guard
Gavin Hetzler, 17, Edmond, Oklahoma, Air Force

Oregon

Lily Moser, 15, Portland, Oregon, National Guard

Puerto Rico

Jessie Porter, 17, Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Coast Guard

Rhode Island

Sierra K., 17, Middletown, Rhode Island, Navy

South Carolina

Jocelyn Figueroa-Urquidi, 13, Beaufort, South Carolina, Marine Corps

South Dakota

Trevor Bartunek, 17, Rapid City, South Dakota, National Guard

Tennessee

Kara Smith, 17, Munford, Tennessee, National Guard

Texas

Alec Argueta, 17, El Paso, Texas, Army
Benjamin Rawald, 14, Del Rio, Texas, Air Force
Darrius Anderson, 17, Mansfield, Texas, Army
Sharlee Krkosa, 17, Schertz, Texas, Air Force
William Kuebler, 12, League City, Texas, Coast Guard

Utah

Kylee McClure, 18, Monroe, Utah, Air Force
Jamal Braxton, 18, Hill AFB, Utah, Air Force

Hampton Roads, Virginia, Metropolitan Area

Alexis Bryant, 17, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Navy
Carson Butler, 18, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Marine Corps
Ethan Vicario, 17, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Navy
Kira Walters, 14, Yorktown, Virginia, Coast Guard

Vermont

Gabriel Niles, 14, Bennington, Vermont, Coast Guard

Washington

Akaiah Lovell, 15, Port Orchard, Washington, Navy
Britton Laing, 18, Silverdale, Washington, Navy
Isabelle Miller, 16, Spokane, Washington, National Guard
Tyler Evans, 14, Maple Valley, Washington, Coast Guard

Wisconsin

Elissa Nott, 17, Onalaska, Wisconsin, Army

Semifinalists for 2017 Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation
Presented by Booz Allen Hamilton

BreAsia Austin, 17, Dallas, Texas, National Guard
Kamille Banks, 17, Lodi, New Jersey, Coast Guard
Sophie Bernstein, 16, St. Louis, Missouri, Navy
Elizabeth Brouse, 17, Merchantville, New Jersey, Army
Marianne Dunaway, 17, Madison, Alabama, Army
Gabriel Feinn, 16, Louisville, Kentucky, Navy
Kianna Flowers, 17, Gambrills, Maryland, Air Force
Noah Freye, 17, Chesapeake, Virginia, Navy
Kennedy Knight, 17, Charlotte, North Carolina, National Guard
Maura Knutsen, 17, Centerville, Utah, Army
Jason Lee, 17, Pacheco, California, Army
Jennifer Molton, 16, Lucas, Ohio, National Guard
Lily Moser, 15, Portland, Oregon, Army
Krystalin Neary, 17, St. Peter, Minnesota, National Guard
Caitlyn Schoon, 17, Belle Plaine, Minnesota, Army
Samantha Shaffer, 18, Greenwood, Indiana, Army
Madison Shick, 15, Tampa, Florida, Army
Mikaela Smith, 17, Las Vegas, Nevada, Air Force
Trinity Torgerson, 17, Colorado Springs, Colorado, National Guard
Cierra Williams-Carter, 17, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Navy

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About Operation Homefront: A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront builds strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect. With more than 3,200 volunteers nationwide, Operation Homefront has provided assistance to tens of thousands of military families since its inception shortly after 9/11. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity oversight groups, 92 percent of Operation Homefront’s expenditures go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to http://www.OperationHomefront.net.

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