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For media inquiries, please contact Jason Moody, Senior Manager, Public Relations at communications@operationhomefront.org or call (210) 549-4653.

Press Release

Operation Homefront Announces 2017 Military Child of the Year® Semifinalists
January 4, 2017

SAN ANTONIO — 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 www.militarychildoftheyear.org.

These are the semifinalists:


2017 Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year® Award Semifinalists



Andrea Gamble, 17, Kaiserslautern, Germany, Army



Jordyn McNeal, 10, Birmingham, Alabama, Air Force

Kaili Cutler, 8, Daphne, Alabama, Coast Guard



Erin McLeod, 17, Anchorage, Alaska, Air Force

Rachel Winburn, 17, Ketchikan, Alaska, Coast Guard



Evan Pittman, 18, Phoenix, Arizona, Navy



Isabelle Richards, 12, Jamul, California, Navy

Reagan Warrick, 12, El Cajon, California, Navy

Sierra LeFlore, 17, San Marcos, California, Marine Corps



Erica Thompson, 18, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Air Force

Hayley Hamblin, 18, Florissant, Colorado, Army



Ashlynn Ruleman, 16, Waterford, Connecticut, Coast Guard

Kathryn Schorr, 17, Darien, Connecticut, Navy



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



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



Kindrah Carney, 16, Pearl City, Hawaii, Marine Corps

Madeline Turpin, 17, Wahiawa, Hawaii, Army



Connor Ascherl, 18, Granville, Iowa, National Guard



Hunter Hotaling, 15, Lansing, Kansas, Army



Alexander Sucato, 16, Belle Chasse, Louisiana, Navy



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



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



Alexander Steinmetz, 16, Cottage Grove, Minnesota, National Guard

John Kargel, 15, Isle, Minnesota, National Guard



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



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



Caroline Stanton, 11, Las Vegas, Nevada, Air Force

Marianna Galvin, 17, Henderson, Nevada, Air Force

Chace Cleckley, 17, Fallon, Nevada, Navy



Molly Frey, 16, Pickerington, Ohio, National Guard



Cody Watson, 16, Tuttle, Oklahoma, Coast Guard

Gavin Hetzler, 17, Edmond, Oklahoma, Air Force



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



Kara Smith, 17, Munford, Tennessee, National Guard



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



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



Gabriel Niles, 14, Bennington, Vermont, Coast Guard



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



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 ForceYes

Trinity Torgerson, 17, Colorado Springs, Colorado, National Guard

Cierra Williams-Carter, 17, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Navy