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The First Lady Honors the 2011 Military Child of the Year Award Recipients

First Lady Michelle Obama honors the 2011 Military Child of the Year Award recipients and discusses the impressive accomplishments of the honorees.
First Lady at the Military Child of the Year Award Ceremony

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Military Child of the Year Award ceremony at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, Va., April 7, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Yesterday evening, First Lady Michelle Obama honored five young adults with the 2011 Military Child of the Year Award. The award recognizes children that are part of a military family and are doing outstanding work in their communities and with their families.

The First Lady commended the individual accomplishments of each recipient for the community service and sacrifices they are making to support their families. Of the five honorees, two have completed 500 hours of community service and a third is almost there. While Mrs. Obama noted that each recipient had a unique path that brought them there, she noted that they do share some common characteristics:

 It’s clear that they share the same desire to help others, to serve their country, and to do something meaningful with their time on this earth.

The recipients of the 2011 Military Child of the Year Award are an impressive group:

  • Nicole Goetz has been helping to take of her little brother by cheering him up or assisting him with homework, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, working a job, and performing 500 hours of community service.
  • Taylor Dahl-Sims has been taking on more responsibilities by assisting with her baby brother, who was injured at birth. When Taylor’s stepfather returned home with a traumatic brain injury, she took on a greater role at home.
  • Kyle Hoeye has taught hundreds of his peers how to make videos educating non-military kids about the challenges faced by military kids, and publicly speaking about his own experiences as a military kid. Kyle also works with his school’s Key Club to send personalized care packages to troops overseas.
  • Margaret Rochon is working to help people understand the issues that military children and their families experience. She convinced six recognized experts to lead a seminar for teachers about the effects of PTSD on military families, which is now a training requirement for all teachers in her county. Margaret has also managed to volunteer more than 500 hours in the community herself.
  • Melissa Howland has also been working hard in her community, committing almost 500 hours of community service to a dozen different causes. Melissa faced her own unique challenge, having been diagnosed with a blood disorder that left her unable to play basketball, an activity she loves. Melissa told the First Lady “you can’t go wrong giving back.” 

The First Lady commended all the honorees for their service, sacrifice and maturity:

When you think about everything that tonight’s honorees have done with their lives, you can’t help but begin to think twice about the title of this award, because while these five Military Children of the Year might be young people, they’ve each shown maturity and grace and wisdom far beyond their years.

Supporting military families has been priority for the First Lady and Dr. Biden. Together, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden are launching a new nationwide initiative calling on Americans to honor, recognize, and support military families.