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Gavin Moran, 13, prepares to have breakfast during his Teddy bear distribution program at Murr Community Center, Jan. 30. The Smith Middle School student is among 20 Army youth selected to compete in the 2011 Military Child of the Year® Award. If he is chosen as the Army winner, he will garner a $5,000 prize.

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS- Operation Homefront announced the 100 semi-finalists - 20 representing each service - for the 2011 Military Child of the Year® Award. For the first time in 2011, the award will be given to an outstanding military child from each service - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

A Fort Huachuca Boy, Gavin Moran, 13, is one of the Army contenders. Moran, who attends Smith Middle School, has participated in community activities and school events throughout his entire life according to his mother, Crissy. Moran recently concluded a Teddy bear project that put stuffed toy bears into the arms of children of deployed servicemembers here. He is also part of a group which hopes to establish a network among youth of the Jewish faith.

Each semi-finalist will be interviewed by Operation Homefront staff, and five finalists from each service will be chosen by a committee including active duty military personnel, Family Readiness Support Assistants, teachers, military mothers, and community members. The finalists will be announced on March 4.

The recipient of the Military Child of the Year® Award for each service will be announced March 9. Each award recipient will receive $5,000 and will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C. for special recognition ceremony on April 7.

Ideal candidates for the Military Child of the Year® Award demonstrate resilience and strength of character, and thrive in the face of the challenges of military life. They demonstrate leadership within their families and within their communities.

"The sons and daughters of America's service members learn what patriotism is at a very young age," said Jim Knotts, President and CEO of Operation Homefront.

"Children in military families understand sacrifice and live with the concept of service. This is what the Military Child of the Year® Award honors."

Operation Homefront provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of U.S. servicemembers and wounded warriors. A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers across 23 chapters and has met more than 267,000 needs since 2002. A four-star rated charity by watchdog Charity Navigator, nationally, 95 percent of total revenue donated to Operation Homefront goes to programs.

For more information about Operation Homefront, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.

Page last updated Wed February 23rd, 2011 at 11:27