Operation Homefront announces 2020 Military Child of the Year® semifinalists

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Ninety-five military children have advanced as semifinalists in Operation Homefront’s 2020 Military Child of the Year® Award program.

“The opportunities that being Military Child of the Year has given me are unbelievable,” said Isabelle Richards, 2018 Navy Military Child of the Year. “It has helped me promote caring for our wounded and injured veterans."

Ninety-five military children have advanced as semifinalists in Operation Homefront’s 2020 Military Child of the Year® Award program. Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit which has served America’s military families since 2002.

This year marks the 12th anniversary of this special event as the nation’s premier celebration of the achievements of America’s military children, reflecting the positive impact they’ve made on their families, schools, and communities. The Military Child of the Year® Award is a lifelong source of pride for the recipients. Participating in the program provides them with amazing opportunities to meet senior military leaders, elected officials, celebrities, and other remarkable military children.

Elisabeth Lundgren, the 2019 Navy Military Child of the Year, said the prestigious award allowed her to honor her dad and his service. “Winning was an amazing way to show my dad that my success didn’t suffer just because he missed out on big parts of my life. My success in swimming and in the classroom happened, not in spite of my dad’s service, but because of my dad’s service.”

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt featured 2018 Navy Military Child of the Year, Isabelle Richards, during a 2018 newscast, highlighting her achievement and the work she has done to help military veterans.

“The opportunities that being Military Child of the Year has given me are unbelievable,” said Richards. “It has helped me promote caring for our wounded and injured veterans and helped me share the powerful message that military kids have so much to share! In addition, being a MCOY recipient gave me the opportunity to be the Key Note Speaker at the United Through Reading Gala.”

Thirty-five finalists will be selected in February by a panel of judges chosen by Operation Homefront’s senior leadership and Booz Allen Hamilton, a global technology and management consulting firm. The final seven award recipients will be announced in March and will travel to Washington, D.C. to be recognized at a gala on April 2, during which senior leaders from each branch of service will present the awards. They’ll also each receive $10,000, a laptop, and other donated gifts.

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 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 team at the BAH firm, developing a plan to help scale the recipient’s project — drawing on technology and strategic thinking.

The following are all the 2020 Military Child of the Year® Award semifinalists by service branch. Semifinalists for the 2020 Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation are also designated:

Army

Jonathan Bailon, 17, Corpus Christi, Texas
Abigail Birano, 16, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Jordan Daugherty, 18, Alexandria, Va.

  • Daugherty is also one of 10 semifimalists for the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation

Lauryn Dixon, 17, Cabot, Ark.
Peyton Faulk, 17, Lansing, Kan.
Coralynn Fisher, 14, Stafford, Va.
Ashley Gorrell, 16, Fort Polk, La.
Morgan Kim, 15, Richmond Hill, Ga.
Fionnuala Mahoney, 18, Bethesda, Md.
Amara Park, 18, Fort Belvoir, Va.
Olivia Starz, 16, Fort Campbell, Ky.
Austin Theroux, 17, Cranston, R.I.
Anna Torres, 16, Fort Riley, Kan.
Anna Turlington, 16, Cecilia, Ky.
Devin Woods, 17, Bel Air, Md.

Marine Corps

Aubriannah Aittama, 14, New Bern, N.C.
Lee Balderaz Jr., 17, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Niklas Cooper, 16, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Dean Fecteau, 18, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Hunter Galvin, 17, Holly Ridge, N.C.
Clyde Harris, 17, Oceanside, Ca.
Payton Jeffers, 17, Holly Ridge, N.C.
Harmony Jones, 14, East Garrison, Calif.
Jason Morrison II, 17, Maysville, N.C.
Iain Nicol, 13, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Abigail Paquin, 17, Tarawa Terrace, N.C.
Ethan Perdew, 17, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
Gabrielle Ryder, 17, Smithsburg, Md.

  • Ryder is also one of 10 semifimalists for the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation

Justin Skillings, 13, Tarawa Terrace, N.C.
Michayla Wittner, 16, Jacksonville, N.C.

Navy

Michael Archie, 18, Pensacola, Fla.
Catherine Besachio, 17, Norfolk, Va.
Danielle Bilotta, 18, Albuquerque, N.M.
Chloe Cullen, 17, Petaluma, Calif.

  • Cullen is also one of 10 semifimalists for the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation

Logan DeLisle, 17, Beavercreek, Ohio
Nai’a Freeman, 17, Cathlamet, Wash.
Wester Gapasangra, 16, Honolulu, Hawaii
Sawyer Getschman, 17, RAF Molesworth, England
John Grady, 18, Chula Vista, Calif.
Jalen Hines, 17, St Johns, Fla.
Kaitlin Howard, 16, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
Kainath Kamil, 16, Oceanside, Calif.

  • Kamil is also one of 10 semifimalists for the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation

Katherine Kennedy, 17, Crozet, Va.
Miryam Smith, 17, Virginia Beach, Va.
Lauryn Williams, 18, St Johns, Fla.

Air Force

Lance Almand, 16, Southlake, Texas
Kabryni Bruening, 17, Sembach, Germany
Audrey Camper, 15, Talofofo, Guam
Marina Cardoso, 15, Minot AFB, N.D.
Jessop Collins, 17, Bedford, Mass.
Brianna Cooley, 14, Bossier City, La.
Taylor Curro, 17, Carrollton, Va.
Merideth Curwen, 17, Tokyo, Japan
Samantha Grab, 18, O’Fallon, Ill.
Rachel Kent, 18, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
Jordyn McNeal, 13, Apollo Beach, Fla.
Taylor Sandlin, 17, Cedar Park, Texas
Jacob Taylor, 17, Tucson, Ariz.
Brian Thompson, 17, Bel Air, Md.
Stephen Wolf, 13, Xenia, Ohio

Coast Guard

Alexis Blyth, 18, Santa Rita, Guam
Liam Cooper, 17, Port Jefferson, N.Y.
Pierce Corson, 17, Virginia Beach, Va.
Jade Davis, 16, Alexandria, Va.
Callie Graziani, 17, Virginia Beach, Va.
Ethan Hunt, 18, Key West, Fla.
Veronica Kavanaght, 16, Orlando, Fla.
John (Jack) Kennedy, 17, Grangeville, Idaho
Kimberly Locke, 17, La Plata, Md.
Hennessy Martinez, 17, San Deigo, Calif.
Kaytlyn Meyer, 17, Owensboro, Ky.
Evelyn Nutt, 16, Ketchikan, Alaska
Tucker Pullen, 17, Bahrain
Tyler Schultz, 17, Forestdale, Mass.
Giavanna Vinciguerra, 14, Palmetto Bay, Fla.

National Guard

Logan Carter, 18, Clinton, Mo.
Bethany Chacon, 17, Albuquerque, N.M.
James Chattaway, 13, Stanton, Calif.
Olivia Chiancone, 17, Winterville, N.C.
Easton Christainsen, 16, Pleasant Grove, Utah
Maya Faulds, 16, Barnegat, N.J.
Victoria Fillipi, 18, Anthon, Iowa
Hannah Grau, 14, Virginia Beach, Va.
Anna Harris, 18, Warrior, Ala.
Audrey Hartgraves, 14, League City, Texas
Gavin Holland, 18, White House, Tenn.
Kristina Lee, 18, Galion, Ohio
Maycie Madsen, 18, Richfield, Utah
Allison Roper, 16, Morganton, N.C.

  • Roper is also one of 10 semifimalists for the Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation

Noah Sherman, 17, Acworth, Ga.

Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation

Shaylee Barber, 17, Clinton, Utah, Air Force
Chloe Cullen, 17, Petaluma, Calif., Navy
Jordan Daughterty, 18, Alexandria, Va., Army
Denitsa Dimitrova, 17, Virginia Beach, Va., Army
Kainath Kamil, 16, Oceanside, Calif., Navy
Hannah Lipschutz, 17, Charleston, S.C., National Guard
Kaileen Myers, 17, Virginia Beach, Va., Navy
Clairissa Nivens, 17, Chillicothe, Mo., National Guard
Allison Roper, 16, Morganton, N.C., National Guard
Gabrielle Ryder, 17, Smithsburg, Md., Marine Corps

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

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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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