Military installations all across the country and overseas are celebrating the Defense Department's Month of the Military Child by offering special events and activities to honor their courage and show appreciation for the issues military kids face.
There are approximately 1.8 million military children according to the Department of Defense. These children experience the unique challenges of moving often, long separations while one or both parents are deployed, re-establishing themselves in new schools, and learning to make new friends.
Military children learn early what sacrifice and service mean. Most recently Army General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the 5th Annual Military Child of the Year Awards Gala honored five military kids for their extraordinary "compassion, faith and patriotism".
This year's Military Child of the Year honorees include:
Army – Nicole Marie Daly, 17, of Fort Lee, Va., who despite nine moves and three high schools is ranked in the top of her class with a 4.7 grade point average. Daly volunteers at events in support of the College Scholarship Fund for the Fort Lee Area Spouse's Club. Her parents are West Point graduates.
Marine Corps – Abigail MaryRose Perdew, 18, Kingdom of Bahrain, has volunteered more than 200 hours this year including math tutoring. She carries a 4.1 GPA. Her mother, Jessica, is a former Marine and her father Jason is a lieutenant colonel with Marine Corps Forces Central Command.
Navy – Alexander Ray Burch, 18, Grand Forks, N.D., has volunteered more than 400 hours this year and produced a video for an anti-bullying campaign. His father, David, is a retired Navy chief who works for the Federal Aviation Administration.
Air Force – Mark Michael Newberry, 18, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, carries a 4.2 GPA and has moved for his 10th time. He teaches Sunday school, visits shut-ins every other weekend and volunteers at the local VA thrift store. His father, Brian, is the wing commander at Fairchild Air Force Base and his mother is a registered nurse.
Coast Guard – Amanda Wimmersberg, 18, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., carries a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the Peer Leadership program which helps freshmen acclimate to their new schools and assists them against bullying. Her mother, Christina, is a recently retired Coast Guard lieutenant commander and her father, Richard, is a commander with the U.S. Coast Guard's Force Readiness Command Detached Duty Navy Warfare Development Command in Norfolk, Va.
Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors, hosted the event.
For unique celebrations and special activities celebrating military kids in your area, check with your base installation Warfighter and Family Readiness Center, Child Development Center and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department.
MilitaryKidsConnect.org – MilitaryKidsConnect (MKC) is an online community of military children (ages 6-17 yr old) that provides access to age-appropriate resources to support children from pre-deployment, through a parent's or caregiver's return.
FocusProject.org – As a service initiated by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), FOCUS Project addresses concerns related to parental combat operational stress injuries and combat-related physical injuries by providing state-of-the-art family resiliency services to military children and families at designated Navy and Marine Corps sites. In 2009, FOCUS Family Resiliency Services have been made available to Army and Air Force families at designated installations through support from the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy.
Dempsey Lauds Honorees at Military Child of the Year Gala – Defense.gov