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Archive for October, 2014

Commentary by Tim Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Operation Homefront

Families of Troops Deployed to Africa Ebola Mission are Eligible for Assistance from Operation Homefront

“The U.S. military remains the worldwide rapid-response force whether facing a military foe or natural disaster, and they are in need of our support,” said Tim Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Operation Homefront.

Last week, President Obama issued an executive order authorizing the activation of the National Guard and Reserves in support of Operation United Assistance – the name given to the U.S. military’s humanitarian mission to fight Ebola in West Africa. Guard and Reserve families know very well what it means to serve our nation on little notice, as natural disasters and crisis situations rarely offer advance warning. Not only is our military the world’s finest fighting force, it’s also the world’s finest emergency response, crisis and humanitarian relief organization, bar none.

The present military mission in West Africa is as urgent and compelling as any war time scenario, which is why we’ve extended emergency financial assistance to the families of those deployed to support operations in West Africa. While our limited resources are principally focused to those deployed in combat or combat support roles, the nature of the Ebola fight is of no less consequence than any other our military might face on the field of battle. And just as service members are accustomed to remaining flexible when deployment orders are received, we need to be equally flexible and accommodating to the families they leave behind.

While the fight against Ebola is a non-combat operation, the military is an indispensable part of the international response thanks to the unique engineering, logistics and rapid response capabilities they bring to the table. With more than 500 service members already on the ground, as many as 4,000 could be involved in the operation over the course of a year. That’s a lot of families holding down the homefront on their own. So we are honored to provide peace of mind when the unexpected occurs: a car breaks down, a furnace stops working in the winter, or the costs of utilities become too much for a fixed budget.

It’s worth noting that we wouldn’t be able to extend our eligibility criteria for these families if it weren’t for our generous donors, who make our emergency financial services possible. Despite the drawdown of the mission in Afghanistan, it’s plainly clear that with the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State, and the uncertain nature of global security, our military is going to be called upon and they will continue to need our support well into the future. Equally important, our military families will continue to be the linchpin of solidarity and support when their loved ones are called into harm’s way. We’ll be here for those families, when their Soldier, Sailor, Airmen or Marine can’t be there for them.

Families of deployed service members can apply for assistance online at OperationHomefront.net or by calling 877-264-3968.

 

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Do you know an outstanding young patriot to nominate for our Military Child of the Year award? Two previous recipients have some notes on what your child might experience if they are selected for the award, which comes with $10,000, a laptop and a trip to D.C. for a special gala.

Ryan Curtin was the 2014 Navy Military Child of the Year and Gage Dabin represented the Air Force as its 2014 Military Child of the Year. Both were nominated during their senior year of high school.

When asked to describe the MCOY gala, Ryan replied, “It was a surreal experience. The entire experience surrounding winning the award was fantastic. Operation Homefront really went above and beyond for us. They had tours set up throughout D.C. at several monuments and museums, as well as several interviews with newspapers and news channels. The ceremony itself was as amazing as it was humbling. Operation Homefront did an excellent job.”

Gage described the awards event as “amazing.” He continued, “It gave me the opportunity to see a world in which I want to be a part of. The award also gave me the chance to meet and establish friendships that I would never have made due to the distance. You start off the week as strangers, but at the end you leave as family.”

The two believe that being a MCOY recipient affected their lives. Ryan replied: “It has inspired me to keep giving back to the military community for as long as I can, and that as hard as life can be as a military child, in hindsight, I would not have traded the experience for anything.”

Gage stated that “winning the award made people see that what I’m doing actually matters. The award helped me pay for school, and gave me a competitive package that waived all room and board fees for the rest of my collegiate experience.”

What is the best thing about being a MCOY recipient? Ryan stated: “That would be a tie between meeting all the great people over the course of the trip, and seeing the recognition and support for military programs grow in my city as a result of me receiving the award.” Gage also could not decide on one thing: “I got to meet the Joint Chiefs of Staff and see the people that are currently changing this world. Also, the friends I made are crucial to who I am as an individual.”

operation-Homefront-military-child-award-gage-dabinAs seasoned veterans of the MCOY nomination process, Gage offered this advice to others: “Be yourself. The packages being sent in should represent you as an individual, not a façade you want people to think is you. Even if they don’t win being honest with others on their character is notable, and just being nominated for it is amazing. Winning the award doesn’t define success so don’t let winning consume you.”

Ryan added, “First, I would say to do things that you really enjoy when it comes to volunteering. Don’t ever spend your time at an organization that you don’t have a passion for because you are looking for community service hours or experience. Second, know that as a nominee, you are already among the finest kids the military has to offer. No matter what happens in the award process, know that you are doing just as much good for your country and family as the eventual winner of the award is. Lastly, remember that, although the MCOY award is for a few individuals, the military is about the team, and service. Without support, none of the current recipients would have the award.”

The Military Child of the Year Award recognizes the resiliency, leadership, and achievements of our nation’s youngest patriots.

Where are Ryan and Gage today?

Ryan attends a university in Boston, tutors at an after school program, and moved into his dorm early to participate in a community service program. The Curtain family relocated to the East Coast after Ryan graduated. “A typical summer, by military standards,” stated Ryan.

Gage is enrolled at a college in Louisiana. He is double majoring in Political Science and English; and is active in college activities. Gage’s spent his summer travelling from Alaska to his new home in Louisiana. “I also helped unpack and organize the new house that my parents moved into,” said Gage.

Both Gage and Ryan envision a military career after college. Ryan is trying to decide if he would rather be a military physician or pilot, and Gage, despite being the Air Force MCOY, would like to join the Navy as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) lawyer.

Our country’s future is in good hands because of amazing military kids like these.

 

 

2014 Military Child of the Year Award "Rockstars": Kensie, Michael, Ryan, Juanita and Gage. Showing the world that our military kids shine no matter where they are.

2014 Military Child of the Year Award “Rockstars”: Kensie, Michael, Ryan, Juanita and Gage. Showing the world that our military kids shine no matter where they are.

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