By Stephen Thomas
Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit dedicated to building strong, stable, and secure military families, today named Valrico Student Hannah Johnson, 17 military child among 90 semifinalists for the 2016 Military Child of the Year® Award.
The eighth annual awards will recognize six outstanding young people ages 8 to 18 to represent 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.
There are 15 semifinalists from each military branch. Each semifinalist was selected from a pool of more than 500 children who were nominated at MilitaryChildOfTheYear.org.
Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and a laptop, and is flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for a special awards gala on Thursday, April 14. In previous years, recipients have had the honor of meeting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, First Lady Michelle Obama, former NFL star and philanthropist Jason Brown, and singer, songwriter and philanthropist Bret Michaels, who were guest speakers for the event awards ceremonies.
Each 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.
“The children in our military families are absolutely amazing and these Military Child of the Year® semifinalists are extraordinary representatives of this very special segment of our society,” Operation Homefront President John I. Pray Jr. said. “They perform at a very high level both in and out of school while simultaneously dealing with parental deployments, recurring relocations, and other challenges associated with military life.