Operation Homefront Announces 2018 Military Child of the Year® Semifinalists

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The Military Child of the Year Award reflects the positive impact that these special young people have made on their military families, their schools, and their communities.

Mark Newberry, the 2013 Air Force Military Child of the Year®, recently wrote, “One of the greatest honors of my life so far was representing the Air Force in 2013 as an Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year.”

Operation Homefront, serving America’s military families® since 2002, today announced the 95 semifinalists for the 2018 Military Child of the Year® (MCOY) Award. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of this special event — the nation’s premier celebration of the achievements of our military children.

The Military Child of the Year® Award reflects the positive impact that these special young people have made on their military families, their schools, and their communities. The final seven award recipients will travel to Washington, D.C., to be recognized at the April 19 gala, during which senior leaders of each branch of service will present the awards. They also will each receive $10,000, a laptop computer, and other donated gifts.

Beyond the ceremony and gifts, the Military Child of the Year® Award is a lifelong source of pride for the recipients and has provided them with amazing opportunities to meet senior military leaders, elected officials, celebrities, and other remarkable military children.

Mark Newberry, the 2013 Air Force Military Child of the Year®, recently wrote, “One of the greatest honors of my life so far was representing the Air Force in 2013 as an Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year… If you would have told me as a high school senior that I would be chosen to represent military children at the Operation Homefront gala, meet the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Welsh, and receive an Air Force ROTC scholarship that would afford me opportunities to study what I love, jump out of planes, and become a pilot, I wouldn’t have believed you. Being a military child has afforded me so many opportunities that not many children get to experience.”

Thirty-five finalists will be selected in February by a panel of judges chosen by Operation Homefront’s senior leadership.

Six Military Child of the Year® Award recipients will represent each branch of the armed forces — the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard — for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life. The seventh award is the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation presented by global technology and consulting firm 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.

The Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation recipient will work directly with a Booz Allen Hamilton team to develop a plan to help scale the recipient’s project — drawing on technology and strategic thinking as a part of the corporation’s competitive Summer Games.

The following are the 2018 Military Child of the Year® Award semifinalists by service branch. Semifinalists for the 2018 Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation are also designated:

Air Force

Isabella Mollison, 17, Japan
Jordan Soles, 17, Germany
Tristan Waring, 18, Sahuarita, Ariz.
Braden Westby, 18, Vilonia, Ark.
Jacob Angerman, 16, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Trinity Boles, 17, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
Madison Williams, 18, Monument, Colo.
Claire Alonzo, 17, Springfield, Va.
Eve Glenn, 16, Tampa, Fla.
Glenn is also one of 11 semifinalists for the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation
Brian Thompson, 15, Bel Air, Md.
Hannah Cheater, 17, Las Vegas, Nev.
Hannah Browning, 18, Wooster, Ohio
Travis Almand, 18, Southlake, Texas
Benjamin Rawald, 15, Del Rio, Texas
Hannah Bahner, 13, Layton, Utah

Army

Laila Donawa, 15, South Korea
Breanna Kendle, 17, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Elizabeth Clinger, 17, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Imani Jessamy, 18, Alexandria, Va.
Rachel Ball, 17, Springfield, Va.
Hunter Hotaling, 16, Lansing, Kan.
Rebekah Paxton, 17, Harrisonville, Mo.
Samantha Blankenship, 17, Elizabethtown, Ky.
Joel Thompson, 17, Lafayette, La.
Samuel Gwinn, 15, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Ryan Krese, 17, Columbia, S.C.
Jason Herlick, 16, Adams, Tenn.
Brooke Errington, 17, Fort Hood, Texas
Bryce Kim, 17, El Paso, Texas
Jazmin Norris, 18, Cibolo, Texas

Coast Guard

Mattie Gross, 16, Kodiak, Alaska
Roark Corson, 17, Virginia Beach, Va.
Danyelle Gardier, 15, Frederick, Md.
Julia Mazel, 17, Richmond Hill, Ga.
John "Jack" Kennedy, 15, Grangeville, Idaho
Liam Cooper, 15, New Orleans, La.
Austin McGuire, 18, Hamilton, N.J.
Garrett Davis, 17, Richlands, N.C.
Cody Watson, 18, Tuttle, Okla.
Allison Brozusky, 17, Middletown, R.I.
Kayleigh Wilson, 14, Munford, Tenn.
Gabriel Niles, 15, Bennington, Vt.
Adam Light, 18, Port Angeles, Wash.

Marine Corps

Hunter Brown, 17, Winchester, Calif.
Chance Hughes, 17, San Clemente, Calif.
Angelina Marsella, 16, Quantico, Va.
Isabel Navarro, 16, Stafford, Va.
Sadie Baer, 17, Albany, Ga.
Katelyn Francis, 17, Havelock, N.C.
Joshua Frawley, 14, Jacksonville, N.C.
Erik Hrudka, 16, Jacksonville, N.C.
Victor Ramirez, 17, Jacksonville, N.C.
Kennedy Starkey, 17, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Taylor Pokorney, 17, Albany, Ore.
Robert Boyero, 17, Senatobia, Miss.
William Butler, 16, Virginia Beach, Va.
Caitlyn Hattaway, 17, Oak Harbor, Wash.
Elena Polinski, 17, Moundsville, W.Va.
Polinski is also one of 11 semifinalists for the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation

National Guard

Madisyn Clark, 17, Peoria, Ariz.
Aaron Hall, 16, Coarsegold, Calif.
Amelia Bailey, 17, Saint Augustine, Fla.
Kjersten Inskeep, 15, Eudora, Kan.
Megan McKenna, 15, Bedford, Mass.
Maya Faulds, 14, Barnegat, N.J.
Dawson Gunn, 13, Rio Rancho, N.M.
Gunn is also one of 11 semifinalists for the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation
Koralys Rodriguez, 17, Statesville, N.C.
Kassidy Marciel, 17, Oregon City, Ore.
Marciel is also one of 11 semifinalists for the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation
Lindsey Faulkner, 13, Monaca, Pa.
Christian Hall, 16, Gaston, S.C.
Jessica Walker, 17, Blanding, Utah
Mikaela Georgiou, 17, Afton, Va.
Aiden Hunter, 16, Onalaska, Wash.
Mickayla VanNatter, 15, Guernsey, Wyo.

Navy

Kathleen Sharman, 17, Vietnam
Kircee Killian, 17, Lemoore, Calif.
Elisabeth Lundgren, 17, Chula Vista, Calif.
Isabelle Richards, 13, Jamul, Calif.
Ethan Vicario, 18, San Diego, Calif.
Nadia Debem, 14, Aurora, Colo.
James Cosman, 13, Quantico, Va.
Jeffery Gill, 17, King George, Va.
Haleigh Dilks, 14, Honolulu, Hawaii
Sidney Brown, 17, Wiggins, Miss.
Rachel Flatt, 18, Middlebury, Vt.
Elise Avila, 17, Norfolk, Va.
Shelby Peck, 17, Virginia Beach, Va.
Madison Walker, 17, Virginia Beach, Va.
Gabriella Cardenas, 17, Marysville, Wash.

Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation

Miracle Olatunji, 17, New Castle, Del., Air Force
Carmie Basnight, 17, Lorton, Va., Army
Carson Freeman, 16, St. Augustine, Fla., Army
Eve Glenn, 16, Tampa, Fla., Air Force
Shelby Barber, 17, Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Air Force
Gabriel Feinn, 17, Louisville, Ky., Navy
Gavin Sylvia, 18, Fort Campbell, Ky., Army
Ashley Beers, 14, Minot AFB, N.D., Air Force
Dawson Gunn, 13, Rio Rancho, N.M., National Guard
Kassidy Marciel, 17, Oregon City, Ore., National Guard
Elena Polinski, 17, Moundsville, W.Va.

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

About Operation Homefront: Founded in 2002, 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, 92 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 OperationHomefront.org.

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